The order by Indigenous People of Biafra ( IPOB) across the South East and South South states to sit- at –home on Friday, in honour of their leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and in rememberance of those killed by the Operation Phyton Dance(Egwu -Eke) Exercise last , experienced a partial compliance by residents of Awka, Onitsha, Nnewi and other major towns in Anambra State.
Saturday Tribune investigation around the state show that most primary and secondary schools in Awka, Nnewi and Ekwulobia remained closed as pupils and students stayed away from these premises.
Businesses were also affected. as low patronage was recorded. Buying and selling activities in Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi was at a low ebb, while the busy Aroma junction near the state Secretariat, Timber market, Zik and Arthur Eze Avenues witnessed few people strolling on the roads.
Banks were under lock and key, but their ATM machines offered the necessary services to the few customers who came.
Vehicular movements across Awka, the state capital according to observation was also reduced while few commuters were seen standing on the roads..
At the state Secretariat, many of the staff were already at their duty posts by 10:00 a.m.
Enugu residents ignore order
In Enugu, Enugu State capital, residents on Friday, ignored the sit-at-home protest ordered by the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) as many of them went to the streets, offices and markets as well as other places of their interests abandoning the scheduled demonstration.
Saturday Tribune observed that there were vehicular movement in Enugu while commercial banks and other financial institutions were opened and customers attended to.
However, security was beefed up in Enugu metropolis and its environs as detachment of armed policemen and soldiers were seen on Friday, in strategic areas in the city, apparently monitoring the situation.
Reports from Agbani, Nsukka, Udi, Oji-River and other major towns in the state also indicated that the mass protest did not hold, which was a total departure from the preceding ones.
Some of the residents interviewed said that although they shared the views canvassed by the pro-Biafra groups, they do not agree with the process by which they are carrying out the struggle, stressing that embarking on mass protest now is unwise because it could escalate tension in the region.
“Agreed that Ndigbo are being marginalised by successive regimes, but the truth is that we need to make wide consultations with other ethnic nationalities to proffer lasting solution to the hydra-headed problems going on in this country. Pro-Biafra agitators should be involved in partisan politics, sponsor some of their members to states and national assembly to effect a positive change.
That is a legitimate means to realise Biafra and not by daring security operatives , ”Mazi Ikechukwu Okoroafor said in an interview.
Saturday Tribune recalls that the leadership of the Biafra Independence Movement-Movement for Actualization for Sovereign State of Biafra (BIM-MASSOB) had on Thursday, urged Ndigbo to ignore the September 14, 2018 sit-at-home ordered by IPOB, saying it is a misplaced protest.
Chief Benjamin Ekwenugo, a member of the MASSOB-BIM elder council, who spoke on behalf of their founder, Chief Ralph Uwazurike, had during the commemoration of the 19th anniversary of MASSOB, by the Enugu West Zone of the group, said IPOB had its own agenda.
The Police in Enugu had also on the eve of the fixed demonstration, urged members of the public to disregard the protest and go about their businesses.
In a statement signed by the state Police Public Relations Officer, Ebere Amaraizu, stated, “The Command in this regard advises those in this intended act to toe the path of peace and order in the state; as the state police command working in synergy with other sister agencies will stop at nothing at ensuring that the existing peace in the state is not disrupted or compromised.”
However at Aba, the order, on Friday recorded total compliance while at Umuahia, the state Headquarters, the reverse was the case.
While security operatives took over areas of the two major towns in the state, streets in Aba were completely deserted.
Aba, commercial center, the Ariaria International market, schools, shops and banks were under lock and key as streets and major roads leading to the city were deserted.
In Umuahia, public and private schools were deserted as parents according to information gathered refused to allow their children/wards to go to school for fear of the unknown.
However, few motorists plied the roads likewise offices and private businesses were seen operating as of the time of filling this report.
The state also witnessed a low turn- out of workers due to scarcity of commercial tricycle operators (keke) to convey commuters to their destinations.
But some people who spoke in animosity told Saturday Tribune they closed businesses to pay respect to IPOB Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, and his family members who have been missing since September 14, 2017 Operation Python Dance II as well as those allegedly killed by the military during invasion of the family home of Nnamdi Kanu in Afaraukwu , Umuahia, his country home.