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IPOB adamant as sit-at-home call flops in Southeast

IPOB adamant as sit-at-home call flops in Southeast

2 October, 2020

By Nwanosike Onu, Awka; Chris Oji, Enugu; Sunny Nwankwo, Aba; Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt; Chris Njoku, Owerri; Ogochukwu Anioke, Abakaliki and Emma Elekwa, Onitsha

The sit-at-home directive by the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) largely flopped in the Southeast and Southsouth on Thursday, but the group insisted it was a huge success.

Business activities went on normally in the five Southeast states as well as Rivers, despite the directive.

IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu said the call was to protest “bad governance and economic annihilation”.

He urged the Igbo everywhere to boycott all activities organised to mark Independence Day celebrations.

Kanu, in a statement on Thursday by IPOB spokesman Emma Powerful, said: “The sit-at-home order issued by the global movement on 1st of October 2020 is totally successful in so many states and cities in Biafraland.”

He said all states in the Southeast and Southsouth within ‘Biafraland’, including Abia, Rivers, Ebonyi, Anambra, Imo and Delta states, complied with the order.

He said the compliance with “this order is to showcase our readiness for the speedy coming of Biafra freedom and independence”.

“We thank our people in South Africa, USA, Canada, Britain, France, Japan, Germany, Indonesia, Australia and other countries of the world for their resoluteness declared to the world over that we are no longer interested in Nigeria.

“The whole world must understand that IPOB cannot go back to Nigeria,” Kanu said.

But our correspondents observed that, contrary to IPOB’s claim, a majority of residents did not heed the call in Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and parts of Abia and Rivers states.

It was unsuccessful in Imo as many people trooped out for their businesses. Markets, stores and artisans all opened.

Read Also: IPOB’s sit-at-home order an insult – Splinter Ohaneze group

Except for banks and government offices that were closed due to the holiday, people were seen moving about freely the capital city of Owerri.

Residents of Enugu ignored the order. It was business as usual.

Our correspondent, who monitored different parts of Enugu, observed that all the markets opened for business while vehicular movement was not restricted.

There were masquerade displays in some areas by the youth.

A combined team of security agencies had earlier patrolled different parts of Enugu in a show of force apparently to reassure residents.

A trader at Kenyatta Market said: “How can you tell people to sit at home at this critical period? I don’t think any reasonable person that has a family will obey the order. There is hunger everywhere and somebody is asking people to stay at home. I opened my shop for business.”

A resident of Ugwuaji in Enugu South Local Government, Ifeanyi Ogbodo, said the order came at the wrong time.

He advised IPOB to look for other ways to actualise Biafra.

It was also business as usual in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi capital, as residents went about their normal business activities.

Vehicles moved in and out of the state as the usual commercial activities went on unhindered.

Markets in the state, especially the Margaret International Market Abakaliki, were open when our reporter checked.

Police spokesman, Loveth Odah, said there was no reported case of harassment from citizens by any group.

The directive recorded low compliance in parts of Port Harcourt.

Our reporter who monitored Eliozu, Rumuodara and Tank junction areas discovered that most of the shops were open just as markets were on.

At Ikokwu automobile spare parts market along Ikwerre Road, traders were seen either sitting or standing in small groups talking.

Some others crowded a newsstand close to the place chatting and arguing.

A trader, Uzo Aladinma, said he regretted that almost “nothing is working out in this country”.

“People are being killed in parts of the country on daily basis, nobody is doing anything about it.

“The President is favouring his people over the other parts in job offers, political appointments. There is hunger, hardship, lack of employment, among others.

“We cannot continue to live like this. The Federal Government should understand this, and call for a referendum so that every part goes their separate ways.”

Security Operatives, especially the police, were deployed around the Ikoku area as the men blocked one lane of the dual carriageway of Olu-Obasanjo.

There was partial compliance in Anambra, but residents attributed it to the public holiday rather than the IPOB call.

The popular Eke -Awka market in Awka and the Onitsha Main Market bubbled with activities.

But, some markets, including street shops monitored by our correspondent in Onitsha and Nnewi, were locked.

The popular Nkwo Nnewi market and shops were shut.

The usually busy Upper Iweka area of Onitsha, with its many parks, was deserted as business activities were grounded.

Youths were seen playing football on the streets while others were in clusters discussing.

Filling stations located around the area had few vehicles driving in to buy fuel.

The ever-busy Niger Bridge was virtually empty, with few vehicles particularly tankers, entering and exiting Onitsha.

Filling stations on the Onitsha Enugu expressway up to former Ogbunike toll gate were all closed, but those located on the streets of Onitsha and environs were seen open for business.

A resident said the situation could be due to the public holiday declared to mark the Independence Day anniversary.

“Since I started living in Onitsha, markets hardly open on October 1. Traders hardly open their shops on such days.

“I think IPOB just played a smart game. They should not take the glory,” he said.

In Aba, Abia’s commercial centre, there were little or no business activities as most traders stayed home.

While it was business as usual in Umuahia, the state capital, owners and operators of commercial parks and loading bays in Aba lamented low patronage.

Some gates of Ariaria and Cemetery markets, among others, were open, but shop owners stayed away.

But a market leader in one of the markets told our reporter that it had been a tradition for the two major markets of Ariaria and Cemetery to close for business on every October 1.

At Sameck junction, about five Hilux patrol vehicles belonging to the Mobile Police, Counter-Terrorism and conventional policemen were parked on both sides.

Major roads, such as Faulks, Aba-Owerri, Azikiwe, Okigwe, Asa and Aba-Ikot Ekpene Expressway that normally had heavy vehicular movements were free from the usual traffic jam.

Some shop owners on major streets who had opened earlier in the day said that they closed for business after reports came to them that some people believed to be IPOB members were forcing shop owners along the Umule axis of the commercial town to close their shops.

A shop owner, Chinyere, said: “Some group of boys wearing black and other IPOB insignia setup bonfire on some of the roads around Sameck and Powerline.

“They used sticks to block the road and were chasing people back. Even those who wanted to go for morning mass were also chased back by the boys.

“I later learnt that the Army and Police chased them away. Some of us who feared that the situation could degenerate quickly closed for business.”

The post IPOB adamant as sit-at-home call flops in Southeast appeared first on Smart9jaMedia.

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