by Chidiebube Okeoma, Raphael Ede and Edward Nnachi
Private and missionary schools have shut down in Imo State as a result of the sit-at-home ordered by the Indigenous People of Biafra on Monday, May 31, 2021, throughout the South-East region.
Residents of Owerri also resorted to panic buying on Thursday in order to prepare for the possible fallout of the order.
While some schools were shut down till Tuesday next week, others gave their pupils one week rest at home.
The schools asked the students to stay at home for the period to avoid any casualty.
For instance, a message from schools run by the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri asked parents to keep their children at home from Thursday, May 27, to Tuesday, June 1, 2021.
The message from the Directorate of Education, Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, read, “Leveraging on the already scheduled public holiday for tomorrow, we have considered it expedient to allow the students/pupils enjoy a longer weekend to resume on Tuesday, June 1, 2021.
“Boarding students should not be forced to go home. Those who wish to stay back in school should be taken care of.”
Residents storm various markets to buy foodstuffs in readiness for the sit-at-home.
At Eke Onunwa and the Relief Market, there was an unusual rush by buyers at various foodstuffs stands.
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, asked the people to ignore the separatist group’s sit-at-home order.
He said that the state government had the capacity to enforce law and order during and after the period.
IPOB had said human and vehicular movement would be restricted across the South-East on Monday to mark the anniversary of the Biafra 54 years ago.
As a result, it said all markets, parks, schools, airports and others would be shut down.
The group’s Director of Media and Publicity, Emma Powerful, stated this in a statement on Thursday.
The statement read in part, “We, the global family of the Indigenous People of Biafra, ably led by the prophet of our time, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, wish to announce once again that this year’s annual Biafra Remembrance Day and candle light procession will take place on Sunday night, 30th of May, while a sit-at-home and total lockdown takes place on Monday, 31st of May, 2021, and not May 30 as earlier announced.
“The adjustment is to enable churches to hold their normal services on Sunday, May 30, without any obstruction. But there will be no human or vehicular movement throughout Biafra land on Monday May 31.
“Every person in Biafra land is therefore, advised to observe a sit-at-home order on Monday, May 31, 2021. That day is a sacred day in Biafra land in honour of the over five million Biafrans massacred by the wicked Nigeria forces during the civil war.
“There will be a total lockdown all through Biafra land on that day as we remember all our fallen heroes and heroines, including agitators, who have paid the supreme price in the course of our struggle for independence since 1967 till date.
“All markets, filling stations, motor parks, airports, seaports, banks, schools, etc as well as social activities in Biafra land are to be shut down on that day. Everyone is to remain indoors in Biafra land from 6am to 6pm on that day. People are to stock their houses with food items before that day so they won’t have need to shop on that day.”
Similarly, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra declared Sunday, May 30, 2021, a special day of prayers for Biafra restoration.
It said that this year’s Biafra Day celebration would be unique and special because it fell on a Sunday.
A statement on Thursday by National Leader of MASSOB, Uchenna Madu, directed all churches in Biafra land to observe special prayers and supplication for the repose of the souls of fallen Biafra heroes, including those killed by Nigerian security agents, Boko Haram and herdsmen. (PUNCH)