By OKECHUKWU OBETA, Awka, 30/5/2017
All businesses and social activities were paralyzed yesterday in Anambra state as well indigenes and other residents obediently remained indoors in compliance with the sit-at-home ordered by the Mazi Nnamdi Kanu – led Indigenous People of Biafra ( IPOB) and Movement for Mazi Uchenna Madu -led faction of the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra ( MASSOB).
The Biafra agitation groups had ordered the sit-at-home to mark the 50th Anniversary of the declaration of the now defunct Republic of Biafra by the then Biafran leader, late General Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu in 1967, and also to pray for a peaceful repose of the souls of those who lost their lives during the consequent arms struggle.
Both the federal government and governments of the South East zone state had warned against compliance with the IPOB/MASOB sit-at-home order and rather urged members of the public to go about their lawful duties assuring that the security agencies have been properly briefed and equipped to ensure that the order was not complied with and proper security protection was provided to every citizen who goes about his or her lawful duties on that day.
But both indigenes and other residents in virtually every part of Anambra state, including those living in the major cities, semi- urban area and rural areas rather chose to obey the order by the Biafra agitation group as all markets, commercial banks, government offices, industrial sites, beer parlours, street business, including shops, motor and motorcycles repair workshops, etc were closed in total compliance with the IPOB/MASSOB directive.
For the Eke-Awka market and Timder and Building material markets and other smaller market, Nkwo Amaenyi were ghosts of themselves when LEADERSHIP visited the markets as the traders deserted the areas.
Similarly, the popular Nkwo Nnewi market, including the Motor and motorcycle spare-parts markets, plants parts markets and Building marterial markets were deserted by the traders when LEADERSHIP went round the area between 2pm Na 315pm.
All the commercial banks in Nnewi and petrol stations were under lock and key, while motor parks and industrial sites were deserted deserted.
A resident of Nnewi, one Mr. Chukwuka Ndulue told this reporter that virtually every where in Nnewi experienced blackout because even workers of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company ( EEDC) abandoned their duties to observe the IPOB/MASSOB Sit-at-home order.
Also, all markets in Onitsha, the Anambra state commercial hub and others in the neighboring Ogbaru, Nkpor, especially the Popular Ugwuagba Obosi old spare-parts market and Nkpor New parts markets closed for businesses.
The .Ekwulobia market in Aguata local government and Nkwo market Oraifite in Ekwusiigo local government were also closed down.
Commercial motorcycle operators also abandoned their businesses in obedience to the IPOB/MASOB order.
Most of those who spoke to LEADERSHIP lamented the alleged marginalization, exclusion of people of Ndigbo in the mainstream power circle of the country by the ruling President Muhammadu Buhar-led All Progressives Congress (APC) government, the continued incarceration of the proprietor of Capital Oil and Gas, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, alleged illegal search of the Deputy Senated President Ike Ekweremadu’s Guest House by the operative of the DSS, continued harassment, arrest and detention of Biafra agitator and the refusal by the federal government of Nigeria to grant recognition to Republic of Biafra as reasons for their support to IPOB/MASSOB.
Ahead of yesterday’s IPOB/MASSOB sit-at-home order, the South East governors had warned the pro-Biafra groups to shelve the anniversary and urged members of the public not to comply with the order. In a statement issued by Chairman of the Governnors forum and governor of Ebonyi state, Chief Dave Umahi, on behalf of the South East governors condemned the agitation for Republic of Biafra and said that the agitation was not in the interest of the political and economic development of the former Eastern region and the people of the area.
Also, the commands of the various police commands in the South East states warned the IPOB/ MASSOB to desist from going ahead with the sit-at- home order and urged members of the public not to obey the order but go about their lawful duties assuring them of adequate protection from any possible molestation.
Incidentally, even civil servants in both the state and the 21 local governments councils of the state abandoned their official duties and stayed at their homes in compliance with the the sit-at-home order.
While the Jerome Udoji state secretariat complex, Awka was deserted by the civil servants, headquarters of the various local government councils in the state were ghosts of themselves as the staffers stayed away from their offices in compliance with the IPOB/MASSOB order.