2023 GOVERNORSHIP AND
STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
No fewer than six persons were reportedly killed in separate incidents as the sit-at-home directive by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) took a bloody turn in Nkwogu, Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Abia and Nnewi, Nnewi North Local Government Area of Anambra State, yesterday.
Following abduction of Nnamdi Kanu in Kenya by security agents in collaboration with Nigeria government and rearraignment in a Federal High Court in Abuja for continuation of his trial by the Department of State Services (DSS), the pro-Biafran group declared sit-at-home for every Monday until his release.
In Abia, the exercise witnessed the setting ablaze of three passengers in a transport company vehicle while the driver was shot by gunmen.
Police spokesperson, Michael Abattam, said the incident was under investigation.
In Nnewi, eyewitnesses said they heard gun shots at Izuchukwu Junction as early as 6am and found bodies of two young men. But nobody could explain who shot them.
Sources said one of them was suspected to be a leader of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), and the other, a commercial motorcyclist in the area.
Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, said he did not have details: “Yes, something happened in Nnewi but the information is still sketchy. There is a little bonfire on the road but the police have removed them. We are still monitoring the situation. Police presence is everywhere.”
The sit-at-home order witnessed partial compliance in Imo State as most shops and other public places were initially under lock and key in the early hours of 7 and 8 am. But someshops later opened for business.
At Orlu, believed to be the epicentre of crisis in recent times, roads such Banana junction, Okporo among others were deserted and shops closed. Except for vehicles of security operatives patrolling the roads, the roads were deserted. All banks were also shut.
At the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri, three airlines had touched down at press time but the passengers remain stranded as there were no airport taxis or commercial motorcycles to take them to their various destinations. The roads leading to the airport were a shadow even as vendors selling around the airport did not turn up for business. The popular Douglas road where the Eke-Ukwu Owerri is located was partially open for business.
In Anambra, the order was largely observed in Awka, the state capital as banks, markets including the popular Eke Awka, filling stations and others were closed while most roads were deserted.
Although security personnel were sighted in some locations, most people stayed indoors either in obedience or out of fear of the unknown.
In Onitsha, markets, banks, filling stations and other business premises were closed. It was also the same in Ekwulobia and other urban centres in the state.
Police spokesperson, Tochukwu, told Daily Sun that the police provided adequate security to enable people go about their lawful businesses without fear.
“Our patrol vehicles are everywhere. Shops are a little bit open. Some that did not open were sitting in front of their shops. But our men are still patrolling around the cities.”
•Masked men invade Enugu communities
In parts of Enugu-Ezike, Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area, scores were injured, robbed and valuables destroyed as masked men on motorcycles invaded Ogrute, headquarters of Igbo-Eze North LGA smashed tables, looted shops and injured anyone on sight.
At Nkwo Aji community being a market day, the masked men descended on traders who came earlier to display their wares and attacked everyone with various weapons.
People of the area who normally sell palmwine were counting losses as suspected IPOB members descended on the palm wine tappers/ sellers at their section smashed gallons of palm wine and beat up sellers as everyone ran for safety.
At the old Nkwo market, they also attacked a patent medicine store, broke the sliding glass shielding and scattered various drugs. A muslim faithful residing in the area popularly known as Momoh was also attacked as they damaged his motorcycle.
There were also reports of attack on hapless residents and shop owners in Isiugwu, Okpo, Imufu and Onicha-Enugu communities in the area.
A businessman in Ogrute was also attacked in his farm at Imufu where they beat up the wife, struck the man with iron rod and collected the cash on him.
Traders at the Nkwo Aji market were helpless as the market was deserted while those who normally come to purchase or sell perishable goods on the Nkwo market day were stranded.
•Abia, Nsukka grounded
Economic and social activities were paralyzed in Enugu as the entire Coal City witnessed the crippling of government and private businesses as civil servants (both federal and state) and public servants shun offices just as markets, banks, fuel stations, motor parks and even eateries did not open for business.
Schools in the state were not left out as some of them, especially private ones, sent SMS to parents and guardians not to bring their children and wards to schools.
Not even the confusion in the discordant voices in IPOB were able to avert the lockdown, as people who thought it would not work and came out early were disappointed as they waited in vain for vehicles, while those who drove returned when it was obvious they were the only people on the road.
The situation also affected the media as newspapers vanished from known newsstands. At the popular Obiagu where newspapers are sold, everywhere were deserted and children turned the streets to football field.
A fruit seller who opened shop around 10am around Agric Bank bus stop said he did because his goods are perishables but noted that he was yet to make any sale by noon.
A motorist, John Agu said: “We are happy that we are observing it. Though we did not go to work, it is still good because the Federal Government should know that we the Easterners are not happy at all. They should release our leader, Nnamdi Kanu, because he has not done anything wrong to deserve this insults he is getting from them.”
In Aba, Abia State residents kept indoors and left their shops and business houses under lock and key. Streets and major access roads in the city centre, including the ever busy Milverton Avenue luxury/mini bus terminals for long distant travels were all deserted. Banks and markets such as Ekeoha Market (Shopping Centre), Ariaria international Market, Ahia Ohuru (Ngwa Road Market), Cemetery/Eziukwu Road Market, and others were shut down.
However, no security agent was seen in all the locations our Correspondent visited, though they were on duty in their barracks and stations.
Speaking to Daily Sun, an Aba resident, Mr Nnanna Ezeonyia, said he returned from a journey to hear there would be a sit-at-home but thought it would not be effective, but only came into the town to see that every where was deserted and looked like a ghost town.
He commended Igbo for bonding in one spirit in their quest for a better placement in Nigeria or the opportunity for a country of their own.
Economic activities were also paralysed in the university town of Nsukka and its environ.Banks closed their banking halls but allowed customers to use their Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) to withdrawals.
In major motor parks, passengers who wanted to travel to different locations like Abuja, Owerri, Anambra were stranded as drivers refused sell tickets or load their buses. Also, major markets like Nsukka Main Market, Building Material Market and Ikpa Commodity Market were all under lock and key
A passenger who identified himself as Patricia Eze said she was traveling to Gwagwarada in Abuja but was stranded.
However, government establishments like University of Nigeria Nsukka, Nsukka council secretariat, some primary and secondary schools were opened.
The ever-busy Enugu Road Nsukka by Nsukka known for traffic gridlock witnessed free with scanty flow of vehicular and human movement.
As at the time of filing this report, Nsukka town and its environ remained calm and peaceful as there were no reports of harassment or violence.
•Partial complaince in Asaba, Ebonyi, Aba
The exercise recorded partial compliance in Ebonyi and Asaba, Delta State capital.
Areas where t was observed in the Delta State capital included Okwe, Akwebulu and Oko, where commercial activities were halted in the morning hours. The areas are considered as IPOB base in the capital city.
It also affected travelers to Onitsha in Anambra State, as commercial buses were not available on the road.
Security personnel were also seen around major roads to forestall break down of peace and order.
In Abakaliki, all the transport companies located along Afikpo road opened for businesses but there were no passengers.
Some parks including popular Ishieke park located along Water Works road in the metropolis were opened when Daily Sun visited the park. However, commercial banks loacted at Ogoja road and Afikpo road did not open but their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) were dispensing cash.
Also, some shops opened for businesses in the capital city with free human and vehicular movements though not as it used to be on a normal day. Many filling stations in the capital city did not open.
However, workers defied the sit-at-home order as they were seen in their offices at Ochudo Centenary City Secretariat and the old government House.
However, in the Abia state capital, Umuahia, there was partial compliance to the order.
Although banks and schools did not open, gates of markets in Umuahia were opened and people moved about their businesses freely while commercial bus drivers and tricycle operators plied the streets of the city without hindrance.
Contents provided and/or opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine or any employee thereof.
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