Metro

May 30, 2024

Biafra Day: Mbah orders workers’ roll call, Police deploy special squad

Famine: Return to farming now, IPOB tells Ndigbo

IPOB

By Vincent Ujumadu, Dennis Agbo, Chinonso Alozie &  Steve Oko

The Enugu State Government has clarified that it did not declare today as a public holiday or sit-at-home day, as being speculated in public spaces.

This is even as Anambra and Imo states Police commands said they have deployed their men to offices and schools to counter any threat to lives and property by hoodlums.

The statement by Enugu State Government, Anambra and Imo police commands followed threats by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, insisting on commemorating the Biafra Day in the South-East today.

IPOB said the day was set aside to honour those who died during the civil war between July 6, 1967 and January 15, 1970.

IPOB also warned that all activities in the South-East are banned on 30th May, calling on the governors in the region to provide adequate security for lives and property on that day.

Also, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, insisted that today’s celebration must be held despite threats by Nigerian security agents.

In a circular issued yesterday by Enugu State Head of Service, Ken Ugwu, and circulated to heads of state agencies, ministries, parastatals, academic and medical institutions and other sundry arms, the Head of Service said it became expedient to clarify that the state government did not declare today as a public holiday or sit-at-home day, contrary to misconceptions from some quarters.

According to the circular, “May  I, therefore, remind our workers that failure to be in their duty posts today  will attract summary dismissal from service in line with the enabling provisions of the Public Service Rules.

“It must be noted that such purported public holiday/sit-at-home will have far-reaching consequences on the academic pursuit of our children, who are taking part in the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations held simultaneously across the  entire West African sub region including the South Eastern region.

“Enugu State government strongly frowns at any calculated attempt to mortgage the future of our children and has, therefore, put in place necessary security arrangements to guarantee the safety and unrestricted movement of all citizens and residents within the state.

“All Permanent Secretaries, Directors of Administration, Heads of Departments, and agencies of government are directed to take a roll call of  all  those who came to work and return same to the Office of the Head of Service before 11 am today, May 30, 2024. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.”

It will be recalled that almost one year ago, Governor Peter Mbah engaged the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, in a similar fisticuff which resulted in many casualties, including deaths and paralysis of social-economic activities.

Warns against disruption of WAEC exams 

The government gave the warning in a statement by the state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Aka Eze Aka,  yesterday, in Enugu.

Aka said there was no room for illegal IPOB activities in the state and urged the residents and pupils to go about their exams and normal activities today, assuring them of adequate security.

He said the state government noted with deep concern, the statement credited to IPOB directing WAEC to postpone the General Mathematics (Theory and Objectives) examinations scheduled for May 30, the  day IPOB designated as “Biafra Heroes Day.”

He said: “We note with particular concern IPOB’s statement that the WAEC board should not endanger the lives of students because the day is not safe for any individual in Biafra territory.

“This is unacceptable to us, not only because of the well-known position of the Enugu State government on illegal sit-at-home orders, which have  dealt a great blow to the socio-economic life and fortunes of the South-East region but also because of the far-reaching consequences of a whole generation of Enugu children failing to sit for a fundamental subject such as Mathematics in one year.”

The commissioner stressed that Igbo excel on the wings of industry, education, and human capital development, saying that any pronouncement or action that tends to deny the children their rights to education, which is their ticket to the future, was offensive.

He said the Igbo founding fathers and fallen heroes, who must be turning in their graves, would be wondering what could have happened to Igbo as a people.

Police deploy special squad to schools, offices in Anambra

The Anambra State Police command said it has deployed its operatives of  the Schools Protection Squad (SPS) to institutions ahead of today’s sit-at-home ordered by IPOB, to mark the Biafra Day.

Although the Anambra State government has not made any official pronouncement on the sit-at-home, the state police command said an Assistant Commissioner of Police in the Operations Department of the command would lead the squad.

Unofficially, heads of the various departments in the state secretariat warned workers of the consequences of absenting themselves from work in the guise of Biafra Day.

To ensure that the state is properly secured, the Commissioner of Police, Nnaghe Obono Itam yesterday complemented the Joint Security Force comprising  Army, Navy, Civil Defence, and other sister agencies to address any security concern, especially against those enforcing illegal  sit at home in the state.

The CP specifically directed the squad to ensure the safety of students, who are currently sitting for the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) which would start today nationwide.

According to the CP, the special squad was designed to protect the schools, students, and institutional infrastructure.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Tochukwu Ikenga, said in a statement that members of the squad have been equipped with relevant assets and advanced training to effectively respond to security challenges facing educational institutions.  

We’ve massively deployed our men— Imo Police  

Also, yesterday, the Imo State Police headquarters said the command had massively deployed their men to ensure protection of lives and property ahead of today’s declaration of a sit-at-home order by IPOB.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Henry Okoye, disclosed this to newsmen in Owerri.  

The police said the aim was to ensure that residents go about their businesses without fear of intimidation by the IPOB   enforcers of sit-at-home.  

According to the Police, “The Commissioner of Police, Imo State Command, Aboki Danjuma, has urged the law-abiding residents of the state to disregard the unlawful and deleterious three days sit-at-home order  imposed by the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed affiliate Eastern Security Network (ESN) and go about their lawful businesses without any form of fear or intimidation as the command in synergy with other security agencies has emplaced adequate security measures to evade any threat of attack by any insurgent group.

“Security operatives drawn from the Police, Military, Civil Defence, Road Safety, Immigration and Fire Service have been massively deployed to embark on confidence-building patrol and operation show of force across the 27 LGAs of the state to ensure public safety.    

“The Command, therefore, is using this medium to warn anybody intending to destabilise the improved peace and security in the state by attempting to enforce the illegal sit-at-home order to   have a rethink  as anyone caught in the act will be made to face the full  wrath of the law.”

“The Commissioner of Police  calls on ‘Ndi Imo’ to be security-conscious and swiftly report any suspicious person seen or clandestine activity observed within their  vicinity to the nearest Police Station or via the Command’s emergency lines 08034773600 or 08098880197.”

We‘re not interested in unnecessary confrontation with those mourning their dead—Otti

On his part, Governor Alex Otti of Abia State said his administration is not interested in going into unnecessary confrontation with the promoters of the May 30 sit-at-home in honour  of those killed during the Nigeria civil war.

The governor, who spoke with Vanguard , yesterday, in Umuahia, said that people had right to mourn their dead ones.

Otti, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Ferdinand Ekeoma, said government was in touch with schools to ensure that students currently sitting for the WAEC  exams in the state were not adversely affected.

He said government was engaging with all the actors to ensure that the academic interest of the WAEC candidates were not hurt.

He said:” Government is in touch with all the schools affected to see what could be done so that WAEC exams are not disrupted. We are in touch  with schools on how to handle the situation.

“ We are not interested in unnecessary confrontation with the people who are appealing for sit-at-home in honour of their  dead ones. They  have every right to mourn their own especially going by the history of that war.

“It’s something we shouldn’t politicise. It was an emotional  period when we remember the genocidal onslaught. We don’t have any interest confronting those who are asking people to observe that moment of honour for those who were victims of the genocidal war.

“It’s something  we are handling with wisdom  and diplomacy. We are engaging with all the actors that are involved. We are putting measures in place that government may not want to make public.”

Vanguard News