•Attack school, chase away students taking WAEC exam, burn vehicles in Imo to enforce order
•Imo, Anambra residents defy Uzodinma, Obiano
•Markets, banks and other business outfits shut in Anambra, Abia, Imo
•Obiano monitors compliance in Awka
•Abia govt threatens to seal markets, motor unions that comply with the order
Gunfire Monday rocked communities in Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, as students sat for the West African Examinations Council, WAEC.
The gunmen, enforcing the sit-at-home order of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, attacked Comprehensive Secondary School, Nkume, chasing away students who were sitting for the examination.
They also set ablaze motorcycles belonging to the teachers and students and ordered everyone, including the students sitting for English Language paper, to go home.
Vanguard learned that the enforcers who were fully armed stormed the premises of the school in the early hours of the day.
An eyewitness told Vanguard that they came in a motorcycle motorcade as well as three vehicles and started shooting in the air.
He said the enforcers set ablaze about 8 motorcycles belonging to the teachers and chased them away from the school premises.
“In the process, students were afraid and the teachers started running for their lives.
“The gunmen who were well-armed with sophisticated guns mounted the entrance of the school, shooting in the air while some of their gang members entered into the classrooms and asked everybody to lie down and after, asked them to pack all their belongings and vacate the school premises,” the eyewitness said.
He continued: “They warned them not to come back to the school to conduct any exam again. They said there will be nothing like exams in the school. We are afraid that our children will not sit for the exams. The Nkume community is under tension and our people are afraid. These boys are not smiling. Even as I am talking to you, the school has been deserted.
“The students who were sitting for the English Language paper and the invigilators had to run for safety. They set ablaze motorcycles belonging to some students and teachers.”
Another source told our correspondent that residents of the area were left in utter apprehension as gunshots rent the air.
“There was heavy shooting between security men and the gunmen. Everybody was lying down inside. The situation is very terrifying and traumatizing. We now live every day in fear of the unknown; we don’t know when this thing will end. They should please stop this problem; people are dying,” he lamented.
However, when Vanguard called the State Commissioner of Police, Hussaini Rabiu, he said when the police confirmed the report, he would get back and give details.
“We are seeing a video trending on the social media and we have not gotten a report that students were not allowed to take exams. When we confirm it, we will let you know about it.”
Imo, Anambra residents defy Uzodinma, Obiano
Recall that both Imo and Anambra governors had urged the residents to ignore the sit-at-home order and go about their businesses but in spite of that directive to market leaders, banks and other business outfits to go back to their businesses or face sanctions, markets, banks, traders and residents across Imo and Anambra, Abia, Enugu, and Ebonyi remained indoors.
Although half of the various commercial banks with branches in Imo and Anambra States resumed operations yesterday, other businesses were still shut down while the streets remained empty.
But our correspondent who went around Owerri, Imo State capital observed that about 50 percent of the banks opened for business, while others were locked.
Most offices, shops, and eateries were shut despite the governors’ order and most of the markets in Onitsha did not comply with the directive. Many people came out around the Unkwuoji area of Awka and Ose Okwodu in Onitsha.
“When Governor Obiano inquired why the markets were not open, the people said they wanted to obey but were afraid of an attack by IPOB members. The governor who addressed the people in Awka and Onitsha urged them not to succumb to an imaginary attack as their lives are safe.”
The Anambra Commissioner for Information, C.Don however, said that while they traveled from Awka to Onitsha, the governor and his entourage did not see many policemen and soldiers as expected.
“The people were happy to see the governor as they came out of their houses to hail him which is why there is a need to consult the market leaders to end the problem once and for all,” the Commissioner said.
Onitsha, Nnewi observe sit-at-home
Onitsha, the commercial city, and Nnewi the industrial town of Anambra State were totally locked down, as markets, banks, transport companies, and motor parks in the two Anambra business locations failed to open for business.
Roads, street shops and other business owners and artisans as well stayed away from the day’s businesses as roads in the cities were deserted.
In Onitsha, Vanguard noticed movements of few private vehicle owners who were on very high speed, apparently afraid of an attack by hoodlums who were allegedly enforcing the order.
However, IPOB, on Monday, through its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, said: “We have stopped the Monday weekly sit-at-home, anybody trying to enforce it is doing that to his peril.”
Meanwhile, another statement by IPOB directed a sit-at-home today September 14, 2021, in honour of the victims of the military invasion of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu’s Afaraukwu home in Umuahia Abia State, which led to his fleeing the country before he was allegedly abducted from Kenya in an extraordinary rendition to Nigeria, and kept in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS.
IPOB statement read in part: “We, the global movement of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, ably led by Nnamdi Kanu, wish to remind all Biafrans, friends of Biafra and lovers of Biafra freedom across the globe that the sit-at-home order issued by the IPOB leadership to be observed tomorrow, Tuesday, 14th of September 2021 is sacrosanct.
“The peaceful protest is for the remembrance of the victims of the genocidal invasion of our leader’s compound at Afaraukwu Ibeku, Umuahia Abia State on the 14th of September 2017. No fewer than 28 innocent Biafrans were killed that day by the Nigeria Army during the raid.
“We advise all Biafrans both men and women to stay indoors today as a mark of honour to these fallen heroes and heroines. We must not fail to remember the supreme sacrifices of these great freedom seekers. Nothing done to honour them should be considered too much for they have watered the tree of Biafra freedom with their blood.
“Our leader, Nnamdi Kanu, has also made a lot of sacrifices for the restoration of Biafra. So, all of us must be prepared to play our roles to accomplish this great task. Biafra independence is a mandate that we must live to accomplish.
“We won’t be deterred by the killings of Biafra agitators by compromised Nigerian security agencies who cannot confront Fulani bandits and herdsmen rampaging the country, but derive pleasure in killing and torturing innocent people agitating for their freedom.
“Despite the tacit support by the Fulani-controlled federal government, these jihadists chasing villages and other communities out from their ancestral lands cannot succeed in Biafra land.
“IPOB is well organised and prepared to repel them. They can continue with their false media propaganda to demoralize people from supporting IPOB but they know that our people now know better. The political elites have deceived us enough but the masses have realised that IPOB is there for them.”
Abia govt threatens to seal markets, motor unions
Meantime, the Abia State Government has threatened to seal markets and motor unions that fail to open for normal activities during the sit-at-home order.
It warned market and transport unions in the state to ensure that markets are open while transport vehicles are deployed on the roads by their members.
“Any market that is closed or transport union that fails to operate would be closed and disbanded, respectively, by the government till further notice.
In a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information, John Okiyi Kalu, the government said it cannot afford to sit idly and watch the future of students and economic well-being jeopardized over the lingering sit-at-home illegally enforced by a group of hoodlums hiding under the identity of agitators in the southeast region to cause chaos in the state.
The statement directed security agencies in the state to deploy at all flashpoints and maintain regular patrols to ensure the safety and protection of law-abiding citizens and visitors.
“The leaders of all markets and transport unions in the state are hereby advised to ensure that markets are open and transport vehicles deployed by their members for regular activities unless otherwise advised by government. Any market that is closed or transport union that fails to operate will be closed and disbanded, respectively, by the government till further notice. We cannot continue to cut our noses to spite our faces.
“We wish to state categorically that it is unacceptable to allow any individual or group to instill fear in our people to the extent of negatively impacting the education of our innocent school children who were billed to write the compulsory examination of the West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) on Monday, 13th September and Tuesday, 14th September, and on the rights of other law-abiding citizens.”
The state government urged parents to ensure that their children go to the examination centres while teachers and examination supervisors are to ensure the protection of the children.