By Chidi Nkwopara, OWERRI.
Economic and social life returned again to Imo State yesterday, after the complete shutdown ordered by the leadership of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB.
An early check conducted by Vanguard Wednesday, showed that all the markets, schools, banks, fast food joints and other business establishments in Owerri municipality, had reopened for normal operations.
Sachet water hawkers, shoe shiners and street traders were also seen making brisk business along the major roads of Owerri.
Traders at the Ekeukwu Owerri Market gathered in group’s, discussing the effectiveness and outcome of the sit at home order of May 30.
For Ikechukwu (names withheld), “government and the security agencies never believed that Imo would record the level of success we experienced in the state”.
According to Ikechukwu, the security agencies were fully charged to confront the agitators but went home disappointed.
“I have not ceased to wonder how they expected to see any form of demonstration, when the order was for everyone to sit at home”, Ikechukwu said.
The traders were unanimous that the effectiveness of the order further helped in sensitizing the outside world on the need for a free Biafra.
“It was a thing of joy that foreign reporters, who came to monitor the exercise, were seen in Owerri, and all the foreign media have already started airing what they saw on ground”, Mr. Ikenna C. Ekejiuba reasoned.
A staff of one of the first generation commercial banks in Owerri, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed that they were forced to close shop the previous day.
“We locked our doors against customers May 30, following a directive from our headquarters and not that anybody or group attacked us. We are however, happy to be fully back”, the bank staff said.
Answering a question, the man said that all business outfits obviously lost both cash and manhours, while the shutdown lasted.
Apparently repeating the appeal of the Anglican Bishop of Okigwe South, Rt. Rev. David O. C. Onuoha, the man urged the Federal Government to open meaningful dialogue with the leaders of the Biafran agitators.
“I am afraid that the agitation may likely continue if government fails to engage their leaders in meaningful dialogue, as well as find out what their grievances are, with a view to solving them finally”, the banker pleaded.