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Empty streets, markets as residents comply with IPOB’s sit-at-home order in south-east

Streets and major roads in most parts of the south-east have been deserted.

There is no vehicular movement in vast swathes of the geopolitical region as residents comply with the sit-at-home order issued by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

In certain neighbourhoods, you could hear a pin drop in the distance.

Traders have also not opened for business due to fear of attacks by the sit-at-home enforcers.

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Last week, IPOB declared May 30 as a sit-at-home in the south-east to honour “our heroes and heroines” who died in the civil war between 1967 and 1970.

Àmakohia road in Owerri-north LGA

“Annually, 30th of May is solemn memorial day for Biafrans. To honor our heroes and heroines. Biafrans are asked to observe this one (1) day sit-at-home in reverence to the spirits of our departed heroes who fought for us to be alive today,” Emma Powerful, IPOB spokesperson, said in a statement.

“Every Biafran in Biafra territory is expected to sit-at-home on this day and reflect on the danger of the forced unity called Nigeria that have taken millions of lives of Biafrans.

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“To that effect, IPOB directs all schools, government offices, Private offices, Banks, transport unions, market unions and private individuals to shut down all operations in honor of our our heroes and heroines on Thursday, May 30, 2024.

“IPOB directs all the residents of Biafra Land to stay indoors from 6am to 6pm on the 30th of May 2024. IPOB warns residents in Biafra to avoid loitering about on this day.

“Those who intend to travel to and fro Biafra land must do so before the evening of May 29th.”

The group is known for forceful and violent enforcement of its sit-at-home directives.

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SKELETAL MOVEMENT IN EBONYI

Residents and traders in some south-east states, including Imo and Ebonyi, told TheCable on Thursday morning that there is no vehicular movement and that the streets are empty, with people remaining indoors for fear of being attacked.

A community leader in Ikwo, the largest LGA in Ebonyi, told TheCable that there was panic buying on Wednesday as people planned not to go out today.

“As I can see, the traffic is not as usual, only few and skeletal movement is happening within,” the community leader who craved anonymity said.

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“There is a lot of panic such that some of the occasions that were scheduled today were postponed. Today was to be the local government delegate and councillorship primaries, but to that effect it was postponed for 31st.

“The reason I believe is not that the state government is afraid but then, to avoid casualties. You wouldn’t know when an untoward event can occur and some people will be affected.

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“Of course, some shops are closed, some busy areas are not as it usually was. That is how my own area is.

“I haven’t seen any student move around. A lot of people that were meant to come from outside south-east — for fear of being attacked, had to leave yesterday.”

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EMPTY STREETS, MARKETS IN IMO

A trader in Owerri who wished not to be named, expressed support for the sit-at-home order.

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“I like what is happening today. Biafrans are marking their day. You can see no market today, no vehicular movement. It is like that in all Biafran states. We want Biafra to come and it will surely come,” the trader said.

“Nigerian government is suffering us. We are hungry and poor now. The president should change his style of leadership. People are dying of hunger and the government is not doing anything to alleviate our suffering.”

‘DISREGARD IPOB SIT-AT-HOME ORDER’

Meanwhile, police commands in the various south-east states have asked residents to ignore the sit-at-home order and go about their normal businesses.

Henry Okoye, the police spokesperson in Imo, said the order was “unlawful”.

Okoye said Aboki Danjuma, the commissioner of police in Imo, has strategically deployed security operatives to all nooks and crannies to ensure public safety.

Similarly, the Anambra police advised residents to shun the sit-at-home order.

“The Anambra State Police Command has become cognizant of the activities of criminal elements disseminating, threatening voice-overs and violent videos in an attempt to enforce illegal sit-at-home directives and instill fear among the residents of Anambra,” Tochukwu Ikenga, police public relations officer in Anambra, said in a statement.

“It is imperative to inform the public that actionable intelligence indicates that these individuals, in their bid to enforce the unlawful sit-at-home order, fabricate threatening voice-over recordings and circulate outdated videos of violent incidents, some of which did not occur within the state or even the country.

“The Command is fully aware of these secessionist activities and urges the law-abiding citizens of Anambra to disregard such propaganda.

“Rest assured, the Police, along with other security agencies, have mobilized law enforcement resources to ensure the safety and security of every citizen in the state.”

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