Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has warned that traders who comply with the Monday’s sit-at-home order should be ready to forfeit their shops.
Umahi issued the warning in a state-wide broadcast on Saturday in Abakaliki to mark the sixth anniversary of his administration.
He was reacting to the order by the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) to the people of the South-East zone.
He directed that all markets in the state should open for business on Monday.
The governor said: “There should be free movement of people in the state on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and other days of the year.
“People should go to church on Sunday to pray for the nation’s fallen security agents, civilians and peace and unity of the state and country.
“I challenge the youths, local government area chairmen, security agents, Ebebeagu security outfit, among others, to ensure that no one is molested in the state.
“Anyone who has nothing to protect himself should do so with a cutlass, which should be for protection and not for attack.”
He said that all forms of the procession had been banned in the state except those by youths organised by council chairmen.
“I have been notified about such processions and they are being used to profile our people for empowerment.
“I charge the Ebubeagu security outfit, which is backed by the state laws, to ensure that the people are protected,” Umahi said.
He said the state could not go into “second slavery under any guise”, pointing out that “the secession the people need is massive economic development.
“There will be movement in other parts of the country if there is none in the South-East so people should therefore ignore such order.
“Ebonyi people are grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari for all his assistance and if people do not see his goodness, he has been good to us,” he said.
He urged parents and relevant stakeholders to advise youths to toe the path of peaceful co-existence and not depend on the illusionary influences of hard drugs and fetish powers.
In a related development, the Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, Mr Mohammed Aliyu, also advised residents to disregard the IPOB order.
Aliyu gave the advice in a statement issued in Enugu by the command’s Public Relations Officer, ASP Daniel Ndukwe, on Saturday.
According to Ndukwe, the commissioner appeals to residents to discountenance the order and go about their legitimate businesses without fear of intimidation.
“We are reassuring everybody about the command’s commitment to collaborate with other security agencies to sustain adequate public security and safety in the state, in line with the mandate of “Operation Restore Peace.”
“The command warns anybody or group harbouring any sinister intentions to disrupt the relative peace and security enjoyed in the state to desist forthwith, as such attempt will be resisted.
“The command entreats parents, guardians as well as religious, traditional and town union leaders to caution their subjects against allowing themselves to be incited by mischief-makers to foment trouble,’’ Ndukwe stated.
The statement further urged residents to “remain law-abiding and vigilant as they go about their legitimate businesses”.
It appealed to the people to report criminal elements and persons found fomenting trouble to the nearest police station.
It implored the people to alternatively call the following emergency command’s hotlines: 08032003702, 08075390883, 08086671202 or 08098880172.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that IPOB had issued a sit-at-home order in the southeast on May 31 to commemorate the death of many people during the civil war that ended about 51 years ago. (NAN)