Residents obey sit-at-home order; banks, markets, schools closed
By Our Reporters
Yesterday’s sit-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in commemoration of the 50 years anniversary of the declaration of the state of Biafra recorded huge success in virtually all the South East states and in some parts of South-South.
Our correspondents reported that commercial activities were paralysed in major cities in Abia, Anambra, Imo, Enugu and Bayelsa states. However, the sit-at-home order was said to have recorded partial compliance in Ebonyi State.
In Onitsha, the commercial hub of Anambra State, there was no human and vehicular movements as markets, schools, banks, parks and filling stations were closed as residents and traders remained indoors in total compliance with the sit-at-home order.
However, police helicopter kept hovering in the air within the city of Onitsha while Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) were stationed at strategic places at Bridgehead, Nkpor Junction and (Dennis Memorial Grammar School) DMGS Junction to ensure there was no breakdown of law and order during the exercise.
Some residents, traders and members of IPOB gathered, singing and chanting solidarity songs to the admiration of observers and foreign media who spoke with some of them.
Kanu weeps at Nkpor
On Sunday night, leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, broke down and wept at Nkpor, Idemili North Local Government, Area, Anambra State when he visited St. Edmund’s Catholic Church/Primary School where hundreds of Biafrans were allegedly murdered by Nigerian military and security operatives on May 30, 2016.
Kanu arrived the site at about 5:30pm and prayed to God Almighty (Chukwu Okike Abiama) for their souls to keep on fighting for the restoration of Biafra, which was the main reason they lost their lives.
Yesterday, the popular and ever busy Upper Iweka looked like a ghost town while major roads in Onitsha were virtually deserted.
In Imo State, there was total paralysis of commercial activities in Owerri, state capital, as major markets, schools, commercial banks and shopping malls shut their doors to customers in compliance with the sit-at-home order by IPOB.
Similarly, there was no vehicular movement, as major roads of Owerri like Bank, Tetlow, MCC, Okigwe and Douglas roads were deserted. Few passengers who were on transit were stranded. Owerri residents complied with the order as they remained indoors while major markets, including Ekeukwu along Douglas road and Relief along Egbu road, Shoprite, Everyday Super markets, commercial banks, schools and motor parks were shut down.
Mrs. Oluchi Uchenwa said she arrived Owerri as early as 7:00am to travel to Port Harcourt, but could not get a vehicle due to the sit-at-home order by IPOB.
At the state secretariat, some of the civil servants who reported to work said they did so because of the threat of sack from the state government.
In Umuahia, Abia State capital, there was compliance to the order from morning till about noon, before vehicular and human movements started gradually.
Most of the shops, offices and markets did not open for business as usual as only few people were seen moving about.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Leye Oyebade, was seen patrolling Umuahia with an entourage of about seven vehicles, apparently to forestall possible breakdown of law and order.
The management of private schools in the city had sent text messages to their students not to come to school yesterday in order not to attract the wrath of the Biafra agitators.
Banks did not open for business until about 12noon when customers were admitted through back doors. Shops were half open for those who could risk it.
Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, was literally shut down yesterday as economic and business activities were totally paralysed.
Major markets, including Ariaria, Cemetery, Ahia Ohuru (New Market), Shopping Centre, Asa Nnetu Spare parts market and Ehere, among others were all closed.
Government offices in Aba north, Aba south, Osisioma and Obingwa Local Government headquarters were all closed as workers stayed at home, while there was no life in several motor parks across the city in total compliance of the sit-at-home order.
In Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital and its environs, business activities were paralysed yesterday following the order.
Daily Sun checks showed all business outfits and locations owned by Igbo traders and supporters of Biafra struggle were not opened, even at the time of filing the report.
Also, traffic jam, which Port Harcourt is known for on major routes like Ikwerre and Aba roads disappeared. Passengers struggled to get vehicles to continue their journey.
Banks also experienced low patronage as a result of the Biafra sit-at-home order.
In Delta, some business outfits, including markets were shut yesterday in Asaba, state capital in partial compliance of the sit-at-home order.
Some of the owners of small scale business outfits and shops within the popular Ogbogonogo Market, Daily Sun gathered, decided not to open for business for fear of being molested by Biafra agitators.
However, areas considered as strongholds of Biafra settlers, including Omeligboma, Abraka, Okwe, Osadennis Way and others were completely shut as residents observed the directive issued by IPOB.
Regardless, IPOB, yesterday claimed that over 76 countries observed and participated in the peaceful march to honour Biafran fallen heroes who died during the civil war between 1967 and 1970 and otherswho died in the struggle.
The group, however, congratulated Biafrans and all IPOB family members worldwide, for their compliance with the order issued by its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
A statement by IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Mr. Emma Powerful, said: “Biafrans have proven to the entire world that they need freedom and the world must know that we are not going back in the quest for independence of Biafra.”
Referendum’ll be a walk over –MASSOB
Leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Uchenna Madu, said the huge success recorded in yesterday’s sit-at-home call would make the coming Biafra referendum a walk over against Nigeria.
In a statement of appreciation to the people of Biafra, Madu said the success had also shown the difference between Chief Ralph Uwazurike’s Biafra Independent Movement (BIM) and other pro Biafra groups, including MASSOB and IPOB.
He said: “The huge success is an express evidence that the coming Biafra referendum shall be a walk over against Nigeria.
“It is an indication to international communities that Biafrans are ever willing to stay on their own. MASSOB is not against Nigeria’s existence; Biafra nation can as well exist as a sister nation with Nigeria like any other African country.
“The success achieved today is not a selfish pride for Nnamdi Kanu-led IPOB or Uchenna Madu-led MASSOB or any other group, it is an honour for the people of Biafra, it is an honour for the gallant and eloquent soldiers of Biafra and civilians that bravely laid down their lives for establishment of Republic of Biafra, it is an honour for Biafra school children, an honour to commercial cyclists, tricycles, buses and other vehicle operators, it is an honour to the cooperate firms/establishments that complied with the sit-at-home exercise.”
Reps warns security agents against use of maximum force
Yesterday, the House of Representatives adopted a motion, urging the military and other security agencies to refrain from using maximum force in the South East and South South, where members of IPOB ordered a sit-at-home yesterday.
This was sequel to a motion moved by Obinna Chidoka, under Matter of Urgent Public Importance, at yesterday’s plenary on the need to urge security agencies deployed to the area to exercise caution in discharging their duties.
Chidoka, in his lead debate, said the motion was necessary to avoid a repeat of bloodshed that occurred last year at Nkpor in Anambra State, when security agents clashed with residents of the area during the sit-at-home order by IPOB .
He said since that unfortunate killings, there has been tension in the South-East and South South.
Chidoka, who argued that the motion borders on the unity of the country, said it is imperative for security agencies to exercise maximum caution and discipline even in the face of provocation, especially as yesterday also doubled as the 50th anniversary of the declaration of the defunct Eastern region as an independent state of Biafra.
Meanwhile, IPOB leader, Kanu has thanked Biafrans for obeying the order. He said yesterday’s event showed that the people are one in the struggle.
This was even as the director of Radio Biafra lambasted the founder of MASSOB/BIM, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, for what he described as the latter’s fruitless efforts to sabotage the order.
Speaking through his younger brother, Prince Emmanuel Kanu, from their Afara Ukwu, Umuahia base, the IPOB leader said it was heart warming to note that the sit-at-home order was obeyed beyond his imagination.
He said: “Nnamdi Kanu has sacrificed all he has for the struggle, and by compliance to the sit-at-home order, it means the people are totally in support of what he is doing, and I don’t think he will go back since he has received this type of support.” (The Sun)