IPOB’s Sit-At-Home Records Partial Compliance | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


IPOB’s Sit-At-Home Records Partial Compliance

Posted: Sep 24, 2016 at 4:25 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

* Banks, Schools Shut In Anambra

* Delta, Enugu, Imo Low In Response

* Protest Successful All Over The World – Group

Chukwujekwu Ilozue, Anolu Vincent, Emmanuel Nzomiwu, Felix Igbekoyi

Awka, Owerri, Enugu, Asaba – The sit at home plea issued by Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a solidarity in protest against continued detention of its leader Nnamdi Kanu was partially successful in some parts of the states in South East region yesterday.

Except in cities within Anambra State where it was observed that critical institutions like banks and private schools were shut, compliance in Enugu, Imo and Delta showed that people gave little concern to the IPOB’s call to shun offices and their individual businesses and stay at home.

From early in the morning, caution was the word in Anambra as many people stayed at home not knowing what may happen to them if they ventured out.

Bus drivers stayed at home causing the few that ventured out to hike transport fares to different destination.

For example, commuters travelling to Enugu from Onitsha paid as much as between N800.00 to N1000, twice the fare.

Generally, human and vehicular traffic were low as only few people ventured into the roads for fear of attack.

Banks, generally were shut in Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi. Only customers with ATM cards were allowed into the banking premises of most of the banks while the banking halls were under lock and key.

Also, pupils and students of many private schools were shut.

Fewer civil servants went to work and left offices early to be able to board vehicles to their respective destinations.

In Awka and Nnewi the major markets were open but witnessed skeletal customer patronage. At Nnewi the main Nnewi market was shut in the morning but opened later in the day. But that was not the situation in Onitsha where the main market was shut to customers.

Everywhere remained calm. However, at the popular New Tazan junction in Nkpor near Onitsha, a group of young people wanted to stage a protest but were quickly dispersed by a joint task force comprising the Army, the police and men of Civil Defence Corps.

Soldiers also kept watch at the Bridge head section of Onitsha while the police carried out motorized patrol in Awka, Nnewi and Onitsha.

The ever busy Onitsha Owerri Road and Onitsha- Enugu Express Ways were ghost of themselves as interstate vehicles trickled. Streets were also deserted of vehicles although this improved later in the day.

So also the Lagos-Benin–Onitsha which was usually busy was deserted judging from the traffic on Bridge head side.

The threat by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to cripple the South East over the continued detention of their leader – Nnamdi Kanu – through protest Friday turned out to be a mirage in Imo as members of the group were nowhere to be seen in any part of the state protesting.

Although, some institutions including private schools did not open up for operation, members of the public went about their normal businesses without fear of molestation while commercial vehicles and Keke NAPEP tricycles plied the road freely.

However, police patrol vehicles loaded with armed mobile policemen were conspicuously stationed at strategic junctions within the Owerri capital city in anticipation of any outbreak of violence.

The Owerri main market, which situates on the popular Douglas Road, as well as super markets, fast food centres and popular joints all enjoyed normal business transactions just as filling stations and banks operated uninterrupted.

However, some business centres, which had previously placed their gates under lock and key as a result of fear and anxiety associated with the rumoured protest still remained shut.

The above notwithstanding, some residents who were still apprehensive of the protest and were suspicious that the dreaded IPOB boys might appear from the blues remained indoors and glued their ears on the state owned radio broadcasting station to keep themselves abreast of the situation.

As at the time of filing this report, a detachment of heavily armed mobile policemen were seen patrolling the major streets and roads within the Owerri Capital city and its environs.

Artisans such as roadside mechanics, vulcanizes, carpenters, electricians were all visible at both the Nekede and Orji mechanic villages while the hospitality industry was not left out in the normal business operations as guests were seen in large numbers checking in and out of the various hotels in Owerri.

Reacting to the situation, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state – Andrew Enwerem – a deputy Superintended of police dismissed the threat by IPOB as a ruse fashioned to acquire cheap popularity and undeserved sympathy from the public over an irrational agitation.

Enwerem said that police Patrol team had been dispatched to all parts of the state including Orlu and Okigwe to monitor the situation and therefore advised the public not to panic.

Our correspondent in Owerri could not immediately reach the IPOB media and publicity secretary, Mr. Emma Powerful for reaction over the failed protest in the state.

Enugu residents on Friday virtually ignored the sit-at-home summoned by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) to press for the release of its detained leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.