Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has said that despite pressure from all quarters that he would not dethrone the father of embattled Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, Eze Israel Kanu remains the autonomous ruler of Afara Ukwu Ibeku, in Abia state.
He disclosed that since the IPOB crisis broke out, there have been calls and petitions to the governor to remove him as the traditional ruler of his community.
Reacting to questions from State House correspondents, after a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa, on Tuesday, Ikpeazu said despite the call for the monarch’s dethronement, he would separate the sin of Kanu his son from that of his father.
“I clearly separate Kanu from his father. The processes of handling traditional institutions are enshrined in the laws of our land.
“And traditional rulers who are members of our constituency have leadership; they will do the needful at the appropriate time.
“But for me, I think there is a clear division between Nnamdi Kanu and his father”.
The governor, who said he was in Abuja, to brief Osinbajo on the crisis in his state said “well, naturally I am heading a sub-national government and when this kind of thing happens, which would have had dimension of national proportion, is right that you will come and brief the C-in-C or his vice and that is exactly what I have come to do”.
“We are still working to stabilize the fragile peace in the region. I thank God also for the instruments he used to be able to keep our country as one. We are humbled by the privileges,” he said.
The Governor revealed that the visit of some northern governors to Abia state a few days was a further demonstration of the quest for unity in Nigeria.
Ikpeazu said he “assured them of safety of lives and property of everybody that resides in Abia whether you are an Abian or not an Abian.
“I swore with the Bible to protect lives and property and because I take such things seriously, I will continue to protect the lives and property of my brothers and sisters irrespective of where they come from”.
Furthermore he said “first and foremost I think our relationship with our brothers from northern Nigeria the governors, they have assured that every part of Nigeria is safe for every Nigerian including Igbos to continue in their business and enterprise.
“I want to announce that the population of Igbos outside Ibo enclave is about 11.6 million, you don’t play with the lives of 11.6 million”.
“So we all have to be careful, the press, the leadership at the state level, the leadership at the federal government level, everybody.
“I think we should be guarded by the rule of law and grow confidence in the Nigerian citizens that under our laws that he is protected,” Ikpeazu said.
The Governor further said that the need for peace in Abia and by extension Nigeria, cannot be over-emphasized adding that “you know that the main stay of our economy in Abia State is trade and commerce and I do not think it will augur well for our economy if we make our kitchen the theater of Biafra”.
Using Igbo analogy to buttress his argument on the need for peace in the country, he said “you shouldn’t allow fight to ensue from your mother’s kitchen.
“It is my responsibility also to grow prosperity from my state.”
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