The Rivers Elders and Leaders Council (RELEC) has distanced itself from the struggle for the realisation of Republic of Biafra.
The elders, speaking through their Chairman Chief Albert Horsfall and the Secretary Lawrence Ibiayenie, faulted organisers of the pro-Biafra protest, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
It described it as uncalled for, adding that Rivers people were not Biafrans.
According to them, it was wrong to transport Igbo youths in trailers and buses from the five states in the Southeast zone, to protest in Port Harcourt, thereby halting commercial activities, destroying property and causing untold hardship for motorists, commuters and pedestrians.
RELEC said: “The attempt by these elements (IPOB members) to focus on Port Harcourt for their political rascality is totally unacceptable and is hereby condemned by Rivers Elders and Leaders Council. The action so far taken by the Biafran protesters in Port Harcourt is highly provocative to all genuine sons and daughters of Rivers State, who have so far restrained themselves from confronting the demonstrators in Port Harcourt.
“The choice of Port Harcourt (for IPOB’s protests) may be a deliberate ploy to make the Rivers State capital the battle ground for any fracas that may follow their rascality. We reject these moves in its entirety and hereby repeat our warning that they (Biafran protesters) must desist forthwith.
“Rivers State people are not Biafrans and had never been and will never be. The RELEC wishes to call on all elders and leaders of the states from which these youths have been pouring into Port Harcourt, for this unwelcome and unwholesome political rascality, to call their youths to order and forbid them from forever staging further demonstrations and protests in Port Harcourt and other parts of Rivers State.
“RELEC wishes to observe the good neighbourly relationship which has always existed between Rivers people and their neighbours. We wish that the cordial and mutually beneficial relationship should continue to exist. Persons responsible for the pro-Biafra protests must immediately halt the unfriendly activities forthwith.”
Rivers elders and leaders also stated that they “strongly” supported Wike’s ban of protests in Rivers state, which they said would go a long way to promote peace, thereby moving the state forward.