Abia indigenes in the cities of Umuahia, the Abia State capital and Aba, the commercial nerve centre and indeed the entire Southeast stayed off the streets on Tuesday in compliance with the sit-at-home order issued by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) to protest the killing of members of the group on September 17, 2021 in Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s country home in Afaraukwu, Ibeku, Umuahia North LGA of Abia State.
Reports from Aba said the streets were also empty as people stayed indoors. The same scenario played out in Umuahia where vehicles, tricycles popularly called Keke were off the streets.
However, the government of Abia State warned on Monday that it will no longer tolerate any other sit-at-home by the people of the state and asked its citizens to go about their normal duties without fear of molestation “as necessary measures have been put in place to protect them”.
The government in a public announcement released in Umuahia on Monday and signed by the State Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, said while it does not begrudge any citizen of the right to sit at home or go about their normal duties, as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others, “we cannot afford to sit idly and watch the future of our children jeopardized and the economic well-being of our people further wrecked over a matter we believe can be resolved judicially or through political negotiations”.
But on Tuesday, shops, banks motor parks and many public and private institutions including primary and secondary schools which should have opened for the new academic session remained shut as parents maintained that they cannot risk the lives of their children and wards.
In Enugu State, there was tension in Emene, a suburb of Enugu metropolis following sporadic shooting by security operatives to control fracas in the area as unknown persons tried to enforce the order
Reports from there said economic activities were paralyzed in the state on Tuesday as markets, schools, banks, offices and filling stations were shut down in compliance with the order by IPOB to commemorate victims of the invasion of the compound of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu at Afaraukwu Ibeku Umuahia, Abia State as a mark of honour to the fallen heroes and heroines allegedly killed during the raid.
Witnessed to the incident disclosed that trouble started when some hoodlums in the area enforcing sit at home order attacked a bus distributing bread around the old Orie Emene market in the morning on Tuesday.
It was learnt that the the driver escaped by whiskers, but the bus fully loaded with loaves of bread was looted and the bus set ablaze by the hoodlums. Similarly, two tricycles were also set ablaze in the area,
The witness revealed that security operatives arrived the scene to restore peace and order and shot into the air to disperse the hoodlums. It’s not clear if there is any casualty as a result of the fracas.
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has warned that the Monday-Monday Sit-at-home that is now the order of the day in the South East is the handiwork of impersonators and warned that if caught such people will be dealt with.
The spokesman of the group, Emma Powerful issued the warning Tuesday noted that the sit-at-home declared for the day was the only one genuinely declared by IPOB, saying “We have no other sit-at-home order after 14th September. Any other purported sit-at-home including the suspended weekly sit-at-home on Mondays does not exist in the diary of IPOB.
“In fact, after September 14, there is no other sit-at-home this week. Any contrary news or speculations to this effect should be ignored. Anybody trying to enforce any sit-at-home order using the name of IPOB is a saboteur, and does so at his peril.
“If we catch anybody disturbing the peace of Biafrans or residents in Biafra land under the guise of enforcing non-existent sit-at-home order, such a person regret his actions because he will receive the reward of traitors”.
An 18- Seater bus loaded with passengers and heading to Awka was stopped at Afor Udo Nanka in Orumva North local council and burnt to ashes.
Similarly, a tricycle operator on popular Arthur Eze Road in Awka was stopped, matched and the tricycle burnt to ashes. It revealed that as early as 7am a group of youths marched through Arthur Eze Avenue and tried to block the road by Emmaus House. They seized a tricycle and set it on fire.
However, Mr Emma Powerful condemned similar incident that occurred in Imo State on Monday where students were prevented from writing their West African School Certificates examination paper and some motorcycles and part of a school block was set on fire.
He wrote: “IPOB strongly condemn the barbaric act by hoodlums and mentally deranged fellows who disrupted a WAEC exam in a school in Imo State on Monday. What a stupid madness! Whoever was behind such barbarity must be made to pay for their actions.
“IPOB leadership is hereby promising to replace those motorbikes burnt in the school to their owners and rebuild school blocks burnt by hoodlums in the name of ESN and IPOB volunteers, this is not to portray or indicate that IPOB committed the heinous crimes against our people.
He there promised to set up tax force to checkmate those parading themselves as IPOB volunteers and those committing this crime against humanity and our people.
“We plead to Biafrans to bear with us for this dastardly act against humanity they are using to disrepute and demonise IPOB in the world. We are calling on the school management and those their properties were destroyed to contact any IPOB office near to them for possible payments of their properties”.
Powerful said IPOB is a responsible organization with reasoning and empathy, adding “We cannot be part of the problem we are trying to solve. We cannot join the enemies to compound the woes of our people we are fighting to liberate.
“That was why we suspended the ghost Mondays that we earlier declared because of the economic implications to our people. We listened to appeals by the people and reviewed our stance on the matter then.
“That was why we reduced the sit-at-home protests to the days our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu will be making appearances in court. That is enough for now and we stand by it”.
“Anybody trying to impose another sit-at-home order on our people or enforce illegal or imaginary sit-at-home is not IPOB, and must be dealt with. Such a person(s) are working with the enemies to disrepute IPOB, and we won’t tolerate such stupidity”, stated.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.