Residents of Umuahia, the Abia State capital, on Monday, complied totally with the sit-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Recall that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), led by the Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, had ordered a sit-at-home on May 31st across states in the South-East in honour of the over 5 million Biafrans massacred during the 1967- 1970 civil war.
A statement by IPOB spokesman, Emma Powerful quoted the leader of the group, Nnamdi Kanu as saying, “we announce again, that this year’s annual Biafra Remembrance Day and candlelight procession will take place on Sunday night 30th of May, while at sit at home and total lockdown takes place on Monday, 31st May, 2021, and not May 30th as earlier announced.
“Every person in Biafra land is advised to observe a sit-at-home order on Monday, 31st May 2021. That day is a sacred day in Biafra land in honour of the over 5 million Biafrans massacred by the wicked Nigeria forces during the civil war”.
However, following the sit-at-home order by the IPOB, news correspondent who toured the major cities in the state to monitor the execution of the directive reports that there was total compliance as major busy markets, banks, motor parks and other commercial places, including schools and government offices were under lock and key.
The major streets and markets around the Umuahia city deserted were the busy Aba road, Ikot Ekpene road, Azikwe road, Umuwaya road, Uzuakoli road, Lagos road, Orie Ugba market, Ubani market, old Isigate market beginning from the early hours of Monday till this moment.
Contrary to information by the leader of IPOB, that the militia arm of his Eastern Security Network (ESN) would be unleashed on the streets to enforce compliance to the order, some motorists attending to emergencies were seen driving along the road without molestation.
On the vow by the Nigerian security agencies to deal decisively with any group fomenting crisis, reports that there was heavy deployment of a combined team of security personnel who moved around the town to ensure that no one was molested.
The Abia State Police Command had enjoined residents and visitors to the state to disregard the IPOB, MASSOB or any other pro-Biafra group sit-at-home order.
Its spokesman, Geoffrey Ogbonna, urged Abians to go about their lawful duties and businesses without any fear of intimidation or molestation.
Ogbonna, who assured the residents of the safety of their lives and property during and after Monday, May 31 stated that the police in conjunction with other sister agencies were working round the clock to ensure that Abia is safe.
He had asked parents to warn their children against involving in violence or any other anti-social activities, stressing that the police and other security agencies would ensure that Abia remains peaceful and conducive for business and economic activities to thrive.
Reacting to the sit-at-home order by (IPOB) despite its proscription by the federal government, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu waved it aside saying he does not recognize the group.
Ikpeazu who made his position known during an interview on Channels Television on Sunday had warned that violence is not the way to achieve the creation of Biafra nation, insisting that there are better means of going about it.
The Abia Chief Executive had said “I don’t believe in Biafra through the barrels of the gun because I saw a little bit of the Civil War and I don’t want that kind of thing and I don’t see the prospects of that venture and I don’t want anything that will be suicidal,” the Peoples Democratic Party’s governor said, adding, “As far as we are concerned in Abia, there is nothing like IPOB”.
On his part, an Umuahia resident and public analyst, Samuel Aguiyi lauded the compliance level to the directive by IPOB by Abia populaces.
He called on governors of Igbo extraction to declare every 30th of May as a public holiday in remembrance of Biafrans killed during the Nigeria civil war.
Aguiyi noted the immense sacrifices of the fallen Biafran heroes towards emancipating Igbos as a result of marginalization by the Nigerian nation since its creation by the British government.
Meanwhile, as at the time of this report, no incident of violence has was recorded in the state as a result of the exercise.
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