Abia state governor Okezie Ikpeazu yesterday stated in Abuja that the Igbo population in states outside the south-east are higher than that of those based in Igbo land, and that there are Igbo people in Sambisa (forest) - a Boko Haram stronghold in Borno state.
The governor insisted that the recent activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) put the lives of south-easterners at risk, but the intervention of the government brought about peace.
"I want to announce that the population of Igbo outside the Igbo enclave is about 11.6 million; you don’t play with the lives of 11.6 million people. We all have to be careful, the press, the leadership at the state level and at the federal level, everybody. We are still working on stabilising and sustaining the fragile peace that we enjoy now."
"I swore with the Bible to protect lives and property; because I take such oath very seriously, I will continue to protect the lives and property of our brothers and sisters irrespective of where they come from."
"I do not see how as an Ibo man boxing myself into a smaller geographic entity without recourse of the most widely traveled people in Nigeria. There are Igbos in Sambisa, what are you expecting of them if I narrow their geography of coverage.
"But agitation, marginalization, infrastructural deficiencies, these are issues which are germane and they can be discussed, they can be spoken about, they can be addressed. But I do not know how in 21st century how carrying arms in my kitchen will grow the prosperity of my people.
"Northern Nigeria governors have assured that every part of Nigeria is safe for every Nigerian including Igbos to continue in their business and enterprise."