By Peter Okutu
ABAKALIKI-THE Sit-at-home order issued by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB on its members Wednesday flopped in Ebonyi State as citizens of the state were seen going about their normal businesses without harassment and intimidation
Recall that Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State had during his May 29th Democracy celebration warned that any trader that closes his shop in line with the directive of IPOB would forfeit it forever
When Vanguard visited the Abakaliki Main market, meat market and Kpirikpiri markets within the metropolis around 9am, they were all opened business transaction as a joint patrol of major security
agencies with over 20 vehicles were seen patrolling the streets of the city to forestall any breakdown of law and order.
Speaking with newsmen in Abakaliki, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor David Umahi on Internal Security, Hon. Kenneth Ugbala
“I have gone round the two major businesses area in the state. I visited the banks, Abakpa main market, the parks where commuters do their businesses and am happy that in Ebonyi state we have full compliance to the directive of government even in the rural communities or areas; we don’t have any challenge at all.
“The little little cases that cropped in had been resolved in the rural areas; we want to thank God; we want to advise those championing the cause of IPOB or MASSOB to follow the normal process that will be
in line with the law and we had always said that in Ebonyi State here, we had been economically disadvantaged.
“We cannot leave our productive periods to engage in nothing because we have suffered criminal marginalization from the states we were carved out from and we want to meet up and we cannot sit at home when we are supposed to be working. The oil is drying up. We have to work; go to farm and do our business transactions to make sure we keep the state moving; we want to thank Ebonyians for the full compliance to the directive of the Governor. I think today has been awesome and we thank God for it.”
However, the major transport companies like Peace Mass and Ebotrans as at the time of this report were not loading to Aba, Onitsha and Port Harcourt where they felt people would obey the sit at home order of IPOB.
The major streets like Water Walks, Ogoja road and Gunning road were busy and had heavy vehicular traffic like any other day.
The Nigeria Police Force, Ebonyi Command in Abakaliki urged residents of Abakaliki to ignore the sit – at – home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) describing the order as unlawful.
The Command’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mrs Lovett Odah told Vanguard that adequate security preparations had been put in place to secure lives and property of every citizen.
She urged residents of Abakaliki and every citizen of Ebonyi to go about their lawful and legitimate business noting that the law would deal with anybody or group who tried to molest them.
“The police authorities wish to urge the people of Ebonyi and Abakaliki residents in particular to ignore the unlawful order from an unlawful organization. I want to remind members of the public
including the press that IPOB remains proscribed, it is an illegal organization and they can never give order in Nigeria.
“The Ebonyi Police Command under the Commissioner of Police, Mr Titus Sumba-Lamorde wants to assure residents of its readiness to deal with anybody or group who wants to foment crisis by forcing innocent law abiding citizens to comply with the unlawful order. The police wish to remind those out there that want to commit crime to relocate out of the state because there is no room for them and that the eagle eyes of the Police will catch up with them.”
She said that any member or members of IPOB caught forcing innocent Nigerians to obey the unlawful order would face immediate prosecution.
Meanwhile, there was zero compliance by Abakaliki residents to the sit-at-home as government offices, shops, private and public schools, banks as well as commercial activities within the Abakaliki metropolis remained opened for businesses and operation.
Two shop owners at the popular Abakpa Main Market in Abakaliki, Messrs Lawrence Obiekwena and Magnus Onwe in separate interviews told Vanguard that they defied the order because the Market officials said
that the market would not be closed for business.
They maintained that people should not be forced or intimidated to observe the sit – at – home order.
Vanguard reports that Police and other security agencies are on surveillance to forestall possible security breaches in the State.