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Sit-at-home: Marginalisation of Ndigbo saddening, but we’re not with IPOB—Umahi

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…warns traders against observing IPOB’s order
We’re honouring those who died for your freedom—IPOB
Panic buying in Awka, Onitsha as Obiano reads riot act to workers

By Vincent Ujumadu, Peter Okutu & Nwabueze Okonkwo

ABAKALIKI-GOVERNOR David Umahi of Ebonyi State yesterday explained that even though the South East geopolitical zone was not happy with the way and manner it was being marginalised in the affairs of the nation, he does not agree with the ideology  and methodology behind the activities of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, geared towards the socio-political and economic emancipation of the zone.

The governor warned that any trader or businessman or woman who closes his or her shop because of the directive would lose the shop forever.

Umahi

This was as IPOB yesterday, explained  the need to obey today’s sit-at-home order, saying it is in honour of those who fought and died for the freedom of Ndigbo. IPOB stated that “the past few days had witnessed a remarkable public interest in the symbolism of the 30th May Biafra Remembrance, particularly the ‘sit-at-home’ order,” adding that “May 30 is just one day in 366 days, but which represents an enduring epitaph that recalls many great feats, struggles and tribulations.”

Lock your shops and lose them, Umahi warns traders

Umahi who stated this during the May 29 Democracy celebration at the Oruta Ngele Township Stadium in Abakaliki condemned the sit-at-home order issued by the pro-Biafra groups in the state.

He said: “And so, any trader that closes shop will forfeit the shop forever. Anybody that flouts this order will be decidedly dealt with. I ask Ebonyians to go about their businesses freely and peacefully.  Let me say that when we the South East governors say that we don’t want the activities of IPOB, it does not mean that we are very happy with the marginalisation of the South East in the affairs of our nation.

“But we are saying that the way IPOB is going to address the matter is not the right way. The right way is what Ohanaeze Ndigbo did; which they did in the committee of Igbo people and that is what we believe.  We call on the Federal Government to look into the plights of the South East people and address the issue of marginalisation. We believe in one  Nigeria  that is founded on equity and fairness and fair play.”

According to the governor, the state government would in months ahead empower 13, 000 Ebonyi indigenes with N200, 000 each to enable them become self reliant and economically empowered.

He harped on the need for the economic empowerment of the people as a panacea to solving and reducing societal ills in the state.

We’re respecting those who fought and died for Igbo  freedom— IPOB

In a press statement signed by the  Deputy Leader of IPOB,  Mazi  Uche Mefor and issued to newsmen on his behalf,  by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, IPOB maintained that the sit-at-home is about the greatest collective self-defence against a genocide that lasted four years from 1966 to 1970.

According to Mefor, “sit-at-home is about remembering and honouring those who fought valiantly against that genocide and those who could not make their way safely to the East as they succumbed to the sheer number and bloodlust of their supposed Northern compatriots who sought their gruesome death for nothing except for jealousy and speaking a different tongue.

“It is also about saluting the supreme sacrifice of all Biafrans who have formed the only bulwark against the renewed vigor of hatred of Biafrans that has resurged since 30th May, 2015.

“It is about remembering Mazi Ugo Ukandu who in 1967, separated from his two fleeing brothers in Kaduna and faced down his pursuers”

According to the  eye-witness account of an American missionary, “Ukandu separated from his brothers and ran headlong into the wild crowd surging towards him. And in a twinkle, he disarmed the first one that lunged at him with a cudgel.

“With that cudgel, Ukandu was able to fatally mow down at least 20 of his assailants before their sheer number overwhelmed him. His courage and strength was a sight to behold and remember forever.”

Sitting at home on 30th May is but one small act of remembrance.

“It is to the many Ukandus and other soldiers of the trenches that our thoughts will inevitably turn to  on this 30th May. It was a war fought over a sprawling canvas, both on land, sea and air, but most importantly, it was a psychological war of wills; and which in the end, saw the greater will triumph.

“That will is one of saying, we will not stand by and allow you to match to our homes and slaughter us like you slaughtered us in your territory, that we endured for all the three years. 30th May remembrance is about celebrating that triumph of the indomitable Biafran spirit.

“But 30th May does not just remind us of the sacrifice of the soldiers, sailors and airmen of the great Biafran resistance of 1967 – 1970, but also of those who followed them in later conflicts – those who, in this era, stepped out to the streets of Igweocha, Onitsha, Aba, etc to protest the resurgence of evil, those who were murdered at the night vigil in Aba, those who were mowed down at Nkpor and those who more recently, lost their precious young lives at various locations in Biafraland, including at Afara-Ukwu, Umuahia.”

Panic buying in Anambra, as Obiano reads riot act to workers

Meanwhile, ahead of today’s sit-at-home order by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, to mark Biafra Day, Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano has read the riot act to the state’s work force, warning that any civil servant who failed to report for work would be sanctioned.

This came as many people in Anambra State engaged in panic buying in anticipation of the sit-at-home order.

In a memorandum issued by the state Head of Service, Mr. Harry Udu, the governor  directed the permanent secretaries and heads of departments and agencies to monitor the situation and report accordingly.

The memo read: “His Excellency, the Executive Governor of   Anambra State has directed that work resumes on  Wednesday, 30th May  after the public holiday on 29th May.

“All public servants must therefore report to their duty posts on Wednesday and the rest of the week.

“Permanent Secretaries and heads of MDAs should monitor and report compliance unfailingly. ”

Do not panic, IPOB remains proscribed—Police

Also yesterday, the Anambra State Police Command warned the people to go about their normal businesses, assuring that the police command was on top of the situation.

A statement by the Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Haruna Mohammed said:  “For the avoidance of doubt, the Indigenous People of Biafra is still a proscribed organization, hence all its activities remain illegal.

“The Commissioner of Police, Anambra State Command , Garba   Baba Umar   once again enjoins all the good people of the state to disregard alleged calls by any group urging them to sit at home on the  30/5/2018  and go about their lawful businesses.”

“The CP further assured the public that adequate security arrangements have been put in place by combined security forces in the state to   nip in the bud any threat emanating from such groups.”

He warned that the police  would  not hesitate to deal decisively with any individual or groups under any guise that would attempt to disrupt public peace in the state.

Meanwhile, many markets witnessed heavy sales yesterday as many people engaged in panic buying so as not to be caught unawares by the IPOB order.

At the Eke Awka market, those who sell food items enjoyed increased patronage as people, particularly women, made large purchases.

Similar reports also came from Onitsha that in addition to large purchase of food items, many people were traveling to their villages because of the belief that activities of IPOB were more pronounced in the cities.

 

 

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