•Roads deserted, business centres shut in Aba

Nsukka remains ghost town

Enugu roads remain deserted, markets empty

Onitsha, Nnewi still locked down

IPOB leaders should properly address Igbo

By Peter Okutu, Nwabueze Okonkwo, Dennis Agbo, Ugochukwu Alaribe, Chimaobi Nwaiwu & Ikechukwu Odu

Although the Indigenous People of Biafra, IpoB, has cancelled the weekly sit-at-home scheduled for every Monday, residents of the southeast geo-political zone have continued to volunteer themselves to sit at home, saying that the IPoB leader, Nnamdi Kanu who is currently being incarcerated in the DSS dungeon in the pursuit of Biafra restoration deserves their solidarity and encouragement, through the constant sit-at-home exercise of this nature.

For the fourth time, the capital city of Enugu, Enugu State; the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra State; the industrial cities  of Nnewi and Aba amongst  other major cities in the southeast were yesterday  grounded, following a voluntary sit-at-home embarked upon by the residents of the zone.

Roads deserted, business centres shut in Aba

Roads were deserted as business centres were shut for the third time in Aba, since the suspension of the weekly Monday sit-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

The city was a ghost town as banks and markets like Ariaria international Market, Cemetry and Ekeoha, were also deserted as traders and customers stayed away.

It was a different situation in Umuahia, the state capital, as some motorists plied the roads conveying passengers to their destinations. However, banks, markets, and other business centres were shut in Umuahia.

Government offices were opened as workers trooped to work following the announcement by the state government ordering workers to be at their duty posts or risk sanctions.

Some tricycle operators who spoke to Vanguard in Umuahia  said they took to the roads to raise money to feed their families.

“The sit-at-home every Monday has been biting hard on keke operators. Some of us operate on hire purchase agreements where we make weekly returns. We still feed our families and maintain our tricycles. And  it is on Monday morning that we normally ply the roads and raise some money to complete the agreed weekly sum to pay  those  we  entered into agreements with.  Therefore, we are appealing for the relaxation of the sit at home,” a keke operator told Vanguard.

However, it was gathered that traders stayed away  from their businesses for fear of attack by hoodlums who may use the occasion to loot  shops.

They  urged the  government to provide adequate security to protect lives and property in the state.

Nsukka was ghost town

Academic, social, and commercial activities were  paralysed in the six local government areas in Nsukka  despite the suspension of the Monday sit-at-home order declared by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB.

Vanguard monitored the situation and observed that markets, banks, and other social activities were brought to a halt by the residents in compliance with the already suspended order.

The  opinion poll conducted by Vanguard also revealed that most of the residents are fed up with the marginalisation of the people of southeast zone by the present and past administrations in Nigeria and called on the federal government to unconditionally release the leader of the IPoB, Nnamdi Kanu from the detention room of DSS as a condition to stop the sit-at-home observation.

While arguing that “those already on  ground do not fear to fall,” the residents asked the federal government to stop treating the people of the zone as second class citizens  in their own country, adding that what they have already lost by the bad treatment meted out on the people cannot be compared to the economic losses which may be incurred sitting at home on Mondays.

 Ebonyi locked down

THE usual hustle and bustle that usually take place on Monday mornings were again not recorded as most locations within Ebonyi  metropolis appeared calm and deserted.

Commercial activities were grounded as a countable number of vehicles and other means of transportation were scarcely seen in operation in the state.

When Vanguard visited some streets and adjourning roads within the capital, including  Ogbaga, waterworks, Ezza, Ogoja and Gunning roads, shops were visibly under lock and key as traders did not open for business activities.

Parks, Banks, and filling stations within the metropolis were not opened for their usual daily operations. While banks were shut, Automated Teller Machines, ATM centres of Banks were opened for customers to withdraw funds for daily usage.

READ ALSO: Soldiers kill 3 in Imo over enforcement of IPOB’s sit-at home order

Residents of Abakaliki were scarcely seen on the streets of Abakaliki as most of  them including civil  servants stayed back home to avoid falling victims to the brewing socio-political situation in the southeast geo-political zone.

At Udensi roundabout, a police pick-up Van with an array of security personnel were seen in the area as a means of forestalling any form  of breakdown of law and order.

Most shops along Udensi streets were also not opened for activities.

However, it was gathered that First and ECO banks along Waterworks and Ezza roads carried out skeletal services while other banks were completely shut down.

The phenomenon in the state, since the sit-at-home saga began was not  felt.  As the morning period progressed into the afternoon, the population size within the state capital  gradually started increasing, including vehicular movements.

According to the government manifest, the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi was scheduled to hold his usual State Executive Council meeting  by 2 pm.

An apprentice, Miss Emmanuella Nwokerekwu from Ezza North Local Government Area of the state who went to work based on the directive of her madam  said: “My madam said all of us should come to work today. I went but didn’t meet anybody. The shop is even locked. I’m going back. I don’t want any wahala.”

Enugu roads deserted, markets empty

Despite the withdrawal of the Monday sit-at-home directive earlier issued by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Enugu residents have continued to observe it.

Major and even residential streets remained deserted yesterday. The markets too were empty with nobody inside them even though their gates were opened.

Markets such as Abakpa, Timber, and Newmarket monitored by our correspondent had nobody inside them.

The ever-busy NOWAS Junction in Trans Ekulu was deserted as commercial transport operators, including tricyclics withdrew their services.

Those who came out trekked long distances to search for shops to buy household items but all shops except for the kiosks operated by Northerners were shut.

Banks and schools were equally closed. Only very few petrol service stations opened with one gate to service a few private cars that passed once in a while.

Those interviewed via telephone calls said they preferred to remain in their homes for the fear of being attacked. Others said it was because there were no transportation means.

However, a journalist, Mr. Oliver Ossai said his village in Udenu local government area of Enugu state did not observe the sit-at-home.

Onitsha, Nnewi still locked down

Also yesterday, residents of Onitsha and Nnewi  continued to observ the suspended sit-at-home order.

As usual, markets, banks, filling stations  and other business activities were shut down except  for few tricyclists who plied short distances from Onitsha to neighboring communities like Nkpor, Ogidi, Obosi and environs.

Roads and streets in Onitsha, the commercial city and Nnewi the Industrial town of Anambra State were completely deserted on Monday as people willingly or out of fear decided to avoid them and stayed indoors.

This is even as a group Balance and Equity Group, BEG, has appealed to IPOB to make proper dissemination of suspension of  its directed Monday weekly  sit-at-home, saying it is beyond the powers of southeast governors to reverse or  effectively encourage people to go back to business.

The remarkable thing about the Monday weekly sit-at-home, for the past four weeks  is that each comes with a different level of total compliance. The second sit-at-home witnessed a higher level of compliance while the third witnessed a higher level than the second . The fourth happened with  people walking around the streets and youths playing  football on the roads and streets.

All the markets in the two cities as usual were under  lock and key, including the Onitsha Main Market, the biggest in the state  and Nkwo Nnewi, the biggest Motor Spare Parts Market in Africa.

All the major  roads and streets in the two business towns and their environs were deserted and banks located in them also shut down.

Federal and State Government institutions like Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital NAUT,H Nnewi  and General Hospital Onitsha had their gates openned  for already admitted patients. Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, was under lock and key when Vanguard passed through Old Enugu Road, Onitsha where it is located beside Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC which also had its gate locked.

IPOB leaders should properly address Igbo

Meanwhile, BEG, a socio-political group, fighting for Nigerian President of Igbo extraction, urged IPOB, to use its usual medium of addressing Nigeria and the world to encourage people of the southeast to go back to their businesses on Mondays, saying that unless they ordered the people back, they will continue to observe the sit-at-home, either  as a result of love for Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB or for the fear of  consequences of disobeying the order at the detriment of the southeast economy.

Founder and Coordinator of Balance and Equity Group, BEG, Mr. Chris Arinze made the call yesterday while addressing newsmen on the legality of the agitation of IPOB and the implication of every Monday sit-at-home in South East.

According to Mr. Arinze, an Abuja based Consultant, it is very clear that the southeast governors cannot give a contrary order against that of IPOB for the traders and businessmen in Igboland to go back to their businesses on Mondays. It is  therefore, left for IPOB to order them back to their businesses through the mass media as a show of love, respect, and loyalty, which they have also shown the pro-Biafra.

“No doubt IPOB has suspended the sit-at-home after that of Monday, August 9, 2021, but that suspension seems not to be too convincing to the people. Some are still observing it out of love for Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB, while some are doing same out of fear or consequences of what will happen to them.”

I’m aware IPOB has a coordinator in the town across South East, they can use the President General of the towns to make announcements of the suspension of the Sit-at-home and reassure people that they will be protected. The Igbo are in support of what Nnamdi Kanu is saying because they are incontrovertible facts, there is no doubt that Igbos are not well treated in Nigeria, but IPOB needs to look into its approaches. The idea of Monday weekly Sit-at-home at home does not favour us.

Every genuine Igbo accepts that Igbos are not well treated, there are injustices against Ndigbo and Mazi Kanu cannot be faulted on that, but IPOB need to do something about this Monday weekly Sit-at-home otherwise people will continue to Observe it from now to December or when Mazi Kanu is released and it is not good for our economy.

The southeast governors do not have the capacity and loyalty of the people to reverse or effectively order the people to go back to the markets and their businesses, it is only IPOB that gave the order that can reverse it. What it did by issuing a statement suspending it is not enough, they should the President General of Igbo communities who can use town criers to properly disseminate the information about the suspension of the sit-at-home.

Vanguard News Nigeria

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.