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Biafra: Total compliance in Enugu as shops, markets, banks shut down

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By Chinedu Adonu
ENUGU – FOLLOWING the announcement by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) for a sit at home protests in the Southeast and South-South regions of the country on May 30, in remembrance of men, women and children who died during the Biafran war, Enugu State has witnessed total compliance in observing the day.

Pix show: Shops at Victor Plaza, Okija Electric Parts Market in Port Harcourt Closed for Business Yesterday in Compliance with Biafra Day sit at home. Some Traders were However seen roaming around their Shop Environment. Photo: Nwankpa Chijioke

A tour around Enugu town by Vanguard showed that few movements were noticed as shops, markets and schools remain closed with few people seen around.

Although few commercial transport businesses were seen making brisk business and picking up few commuters who had come out.

At the ever busy Main Market Enugu, virtually all the shops were closed except for a few. Those opened were seen selling to few customers who came to make purchases.

A businessman at Ogbete main line who deals on cosmetics and medical products, Cosmas Agbo said even though his business and shop is open, he has the Biafran cause at heart.

“Even though my shop is opened, I support the Biafran struggle and my heart is with them. Nobody has come to my shop to buy but I’m still here,” he said.

“I came to the market but I did not open my shop because I am observing the Biafra Day in remembrance of our fallen heroes who died during the war. As you can see, there is almost total compliance in the market. People are showing solidarity for the Biafra cause. Those who came out and opened their shops are mostly family people who are looking for what their children will eat and you can’t blame them because of the situation in the country,” said Chijioke Igwilo another trader in the market.

At the railway line of the market, all shops are closed with about five people seen walking fast along the line.

At New Market, shops were closed except for one or two who opened along the road sides to make sales.

“I just came out because I don’t even know what is going on. I was not informed and nobody told me anything about it and I didn’t see the IPOB people. We have children you know,” Eke Juliana a trader in the market said.

Mohammed Musa said “I came to buy things in the market but didn’t see anybody to buy from.”

A tricycle rider who didn’t disclose his name said “I love what these people (IPOB) are doing by organising this type of events. It shows commitment and unity. Even the police and army are moving about but didn’t see anyone to arrest because the protests were well coordinated. I was very young during the war and I knew what I saw then. Dead bodies everywhere and the injured littered in the hospitals. War is not good at all but the Igbos are being marginalised too much.”

In Nsukka, markets, shops and activities and social engagements were on partially as few people were seen moving about major spots in the area.

At Ogige market, few traders were seen opening their shops and business places while many others are under lock and keys.

Other traders are seen milling around in front of their shops, while others are seen in small groups having chats and conversation about the days developments.

At some transport companies in the area, few buses were seen parked in the premises with few commuters purchasing tickets for their journey.

“They said we should not open our shops so I just decided to come around and see what is happening. I just want to be around my shop in case something bad happens,” Okey Eze, one of the traders in the market said.

Another trader, Pius Ugwu said “We are remembering our heroes today especially those who died during the war between 1967-1970. They were killed by Nigeria and her foreign allies. The injustice done to the Igbos is too much. We are being marginalised in practically everything from politics, military, and infrastructural development. This is not a lie. If you move about you will see it for yourself,” he said.

A visit to some secondary schools and tertiary institutions in Enugu showed total compliance in the remembrance day celebration.

At Community Primary School, Nike, no pupil was seen around the school premises. Doors and windows to classrooms were totally locked and no other resident in the area was seen for comments.

At National Grammar School, Nike, Enugu, no students or regular teachers were seen in sight aside from few teachers who are living at the staff quarters in the compound.

A visit to some offices especially that of the principal and teachers showed padlocks fastened to the doors.

At the Enugu State College of Education (ESCET), some of the non academic staff were around, having chats in their offices as even few students were seen milling around the compound. No lecture halls were seen busy with academic activities.

A visit to five banks in town showed that most banks started operation between 9 -10 a.m, while some of the banks that are at the outskirt of the metropolis did not open even as at 12 noon.

Those banks that opened recorded low turnout as this correspondent entered to observe the customer rate at one of the old generation banks along Okpara Avenue.

About five customers were seen in one of the new generation banks while one of the security men in one of the banks along the area turned this reporter away and said “We are not open for business today except for our ATM. You can go to other banks down there if you want to make transactions inside.”

When asked why, he refused to explain.

However, SP Ebere Amaraizu, Enugu State Police Command spokesman, said that the command had made adequate deployment to ensure that no resident would be molested or intimidated by any alleged pro-Biafra group or hoodlum.

Amaraizu noted that as at 1 p.m. the command had not received any reported case of breakdown of law or authorize assemblage of pro-Biafra group members anywhere.

“We have deployed all our officers and men in every major place especially known black spots in the state; while scores of our patrol teams are roving the whole state.

“The command is not leaving anything to chance even as we had synergized with our sister security agencies and formations to ensure no body causes panic in any form in the state,’’ he said.

This reporter observed that armed policemen were stationed in every major bus stop and markets in the metropolis aside the plain cloth officers as well.

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