Dave Umahi, governor of Ebonyi state, says anyone who wants to foment trouble must be crushed.
Umahi, who is chairman of the south-east governors’ forum, said this while responding to the decision of he and his colleagues to proscribe the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
He told journalists in Abakaliki, the state capital, on Saturday, that Nnamdi Kanu, leader of IPOB, was gradually losing control of his group.
He said the governors had to wade in to prevent further bloodshed, arguing that the proscription achieved the desired result.
Umahi said IPOB had lost its original purpose and was causing unnecessary tension and killings in the south-east.
“When you put a small fire, it can go very far and become difficult to control,” he said.
“Anybody that wants to foment trouble must be crushed and I want security agencies to beef up security around all the non-indigenes in the state and to report to me of any problem because we must maintain the peace.
“The IPOB activities were gradually getting out of control of Nnamdi Kanu. Soldiers were passing on the way when IPOB members started throwing stones and other objects on them and it sparked off the clash between the group and the military.
“It is a shame that when this thing happened, a man called Charles Ogbu had to send phone numbers of all south-east governors, senate president and others and all our people could do was calling us to insult us, talked to them anyhow. These are people that never experienced any war in their lives.”
He said the lives of south-east residents must be guaranteed at all times.
“Our focus is how to save lives of every Nigeria and we believe in a united Nigeria. Lives of people are involved and we must not play politics with that,” he said.
He also appealed to the youth to stop insulting President Muhammadu Buhari and leaders of the country.
The governor said the military exercise in the region was not targeted at IPOB but intended to curb rising incidents of crime, especially kidnapping and armed robbery in the south-east.