Rochas warns that secession will cost Ndigbo over $8bn in lost assets invested across Nigeria

IMO State governor Rochas Okorocha has warned the Igbo not to fall for the deception of being misled into believing that they can secede from Nigeria as they are being told by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) Nnamdi Kanu.


Over the last two years, Ipob has led calls for Ndigbo to secede from Nigeria, which in turn has led to Arewa youth groups issuing an ultimatum that all Igbos to leave the north of the country by October 1. This has created tension as thousands of Igbos have invested millions across northern Nigeria and Governor Okorocha has warned that they would lose not less than N3trn ($8.2bn) in assets and cash should there be another war.


Speaking at the presentation of staff of office and certificate of recognition to traditional rulers in Imo State, Governor Okorocha lamented the fact that traditional rulers had kept mute while the cloud gathered over activities of Biafra agitators. Ipob's campaign has created so much tension that as the October 1 deadline looms, many Igbos have begun leaving northern Nigeria, fearing pogroms.


Governor Okorocha said: “On Ipob, the cloud is gathering, nobody is talking, not even our traditional rulers, pastors and leaders. This is bad for our people because if you remember vividly, a few years ago, during the civil war, it was a similar story, as at that time, we believed that the Ohafia warriors would be able to fight and disseminate the north.


“Now we are being deceived that Ipob will drive away Nigeria and give us Biafra. Even our pastors, men of God and some leaders in the rural areas, nobody is speaking out against this action and the song of war is coming gradually like a desert encroachment."


He added that Ndigbo fought the war and it was believed that Igbos would learn from it but they still went ahead and developed the resources of other regions. According to the governor, it would be suicidal for Ndigbo to even contemplate leaving Nigeria.


He added: “There are 5m Igbo living outside the shores of Igbo region and any form of war will cost over N3trn loss in properties and assets. No sane person will spread the message of division and war because it does not benefit the Igbo in any way.


"I urge you traditional rulers to speak against it and educate your people on the true state of things. Ndigbo need to build bridges of unity across the nation”