May 30, 2019

Sit-at-home order: Partial compliance in Enugu

…Markets, commercial transporters, banks offer skeletal services

…Exercise very successful – IPOB

By Chinedu Adonu

ENUGU – RESIDENTS of Enugu metropolis on Thursday partially observed the Sit-At-Home order given by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and other Biafran freedom agitators in Enugu state.

Vanguard correspondent in Enugu, who monitored the situation in the metropolis following the order, gathered that there was partial compliance as some shops in major markets were locked, the roads not busy as usual with vehicular traffic.

Just like last year, while several people stayed back at their homes, some residents of Enugu Capital City went about their normal routine, with major markets, transporters, banks and other public institutions offering skeletal services.

Many government ministries and agencies, as well as private and public schools also recorded little or no activities.

Although there were no official closure of major markets within the city centre, but virtually all of them were near ghost of themselves.

For instance, at the popular Ogbete Main Market, which is the biggest in the city, the main gates at Holy Ghost and Old Park ends were thrown open but most shops were under lock and key.

Similarly, all the popular parks in and around the market – over a dozen of them, including private parks – were skanty, with some stranded passengers loitering about and apparently trying to figure out their next move.

It was same situation at the New Market as well as the popular Akwata perishable market where several articulated vehicles that convey truck loads of tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and other assorted vegetables from the north usually drop off the produce.

When our correspondent visited the market at 8 am and 10:30 am respectively, only an articulated vehicles loaded with onions was seen at the market.

Naira exchanges at N359.4 to dollar at parallel market(Opens in a new browser tab)

It was gathered that the Hausas had chosen not to bring in goods to the East, especially perishables, in order to guard against any unbecoming as a result of the IPOB order, that could lead to loss of their lives or goods.

The driver of the onions-laden truck, who identified himself simply as Yahaya recalled in an interview with the Vanguard, that he had suffered such fate during the 2017 edition of the IPOB Sit-at-Home. He explained that he had brought in a trailer load of tomatoes but that due to the high compliance of the IPOB order last year, that almost the entire tomatoes rotted away.

Meanwhile, a cross section of residents who spoke to our correspondent at different markets and locations in Enugu rated the exercise cumulatively as fairly successful.

For Offorkanne Chukwubuike (Kenyatta Market), Ebube Nwosu (Trans-Ekulu), Chukwuma Eze(Commercial driver)’ and Chukwuemeka Kalu (businessman), Ndigbo were largely in support of the sit-at-home order and that it was fairly successful. But they urged that there was need for a mor e coordinated excercise in future to make the exercise more worthwhile.

Meanwhile, when contacted, the IPOB’s Director of Media and Publicity, Emma Powerful described the exercise as a huge success.

In a statement, which the IPOB image maker circulated to journalists in Enugu, he mocked those who had opposed the sit-at-home order stressing that  “one takeaway is that it has become clearer from this 2019 sit-at-home, that people listen to IPOB high command”.

Powerful however, berated  those  he called “Abuja contractors and politicians, especially the faceless organizations and groups,”  alleging that they had been sponsored by Aso Rock cabals and northern caliphate to politicize the sit at home order.

“Biafra will continue to move on. The antics of beautifying the sit-at-home event with kangaroo procession and lectures today, has hit the rock.  I ask Biafrans to remain firm and focused, referendum is coming in no distant time” he said.