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Sit-at-home order: IPOB grounds S/East as businesses, markets, schools, banks shut down

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…WAEC exams disrupted as students dress in rags to evade molestations.

..Kalu condemns attacks on soldiers in Aba, says exercise not in best interest of Ndi Igbo

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Jonas Ezieke,, PAMELA EBOH Awka

 

Major cities in South East on Thursday  became ghost cities following the sit-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

 

Recall that IPOB had instituted the no movement order for May 30, 2024 as a way to celebrate Biafra day in remembrance of late Biafra soldiers who died in the course of the civil war

 

The group had warned that anyone who flouts the order would face the consequences.

 

To this end, the bubbling cities of Awka, Onitsha, Nnewi , Aba, Enugu, Owerri became deserted as people stayed indoors while markets and shops remained closed.

 

For instance, the ever busy Enugu-Onitsha expressway as at 9am was totally deserted with no vehicular movements.

 

Motor parks were also a ghost of itself as neither passengers nor passengers were in sight.

 

Our correspondent who took a walk in some major areas of the city observed that the popular UNIZIK junction which harbours many motor parks including Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, etc parks were totally deserted

 

Banks, super markets as well as markets were all closed to mark the Biafra Day remembrance.

 

Information has it that Onitsha and Nnewi had stiffer compliance as residents remained indoorrs

 

Meanwhile, police in Anambra State has announced that it has apprehended one person in the state who was among a group enforcing the sit at home order.

 

A press release by the spokesperson of the command, SP Tochukwu Ikenga said, “The Command is fully aware of secessionists activities and urges the law-abiding citizens of Anambra to disregard such propaganda.

 

“As a recent example, on May 29, 2024, at approximately 2:00 PM, police operatives laid an ambush on miscreants along Oba flyover in Idemili South.

 

“This led to the interception of a gang of four armed men operating on motorbikes. During the encounter, one miscreant was apprehended, while the other three managed to evade capture, sustaining bullet injuries in the process.

 

“The operatives recovered a locally made Barreta pistol, four expended cartridges, two phones, and incriminating evidence indicative of unpatriotic and disloyal behavior towards the Nigerian government.

 

“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,” the release read.

 

The command also circulated hotlines for residents of the state to reach out to the police in the case of any violence in their area.

 

However, Students writing this year’s May/June West African Examination Council exams on Thursday braved the sit-at-home order by IPOB to go sit for their Mathematics 1&2 exams in Awka by disguising as water fetchers..

 

information has it that students were seen wearing plain clothes as they made their ways into their various schools to sit for the exams out of fear of attacks by enforcers.

 

Recall that IPOB had earlier written a letter to the WAEC boss in the state urging that the exams for May 30th be shifted to a future date warning that they (WAEC) would be held responsible if students faced any mishap in the course of going for the exams on a sit-at-home day

 

Though Anambra state police command had waved the threat of mayhem for defaulters of the order by IPOB, residents of Awka stayed out of the road and business for the better part of the day.

 

Most students especially candidates sitting for the examination at Igwebuike Grammar School Awka and St John’s School, Amemyi Awka were seen as early as 7.45am wearing plain clothes as a way to apparently disguise as they entered into their schools for the examination.

 

Some of them were seen carrying empty gallons pretending to be seen as going to fetch water only to make swift entry into the school. Some girls were also seen carrying buckets on their head like they were going to fetch water but took a diversion to their schools were they changed into their school uniforms.

 

Meanwhile, Gates of Igwebuike Grammar School were locked with only one little entrance opened for students to come in.

 

A gateman at Igwebuike Grammar School, Awka who spoke on condition of anonymity said students who came from far places where the sit at home order was much obeyed were mostly the students who wore mufti clothes to school.

 

He said, “They are afraid, some of them are coming from far places and that is why you see them wearing mufti so when they come inside the school, they’ll change into the school uniform”

 

“Some of these girls you see carrying buckets on their heads are all candidates sitting for the exams. That buckets on their heads contain their school uniform, when they get to their school they will change into their uniforms. They did this to disguise because of fear”

 

A parent who brought her son on motorcycle to Igwebuike Grammar School, Awka, Mrs. Ngozi Madichie expressed sadness over the situation, saying that the situation will affect the students’ performance in the subject.

 

She added, “The pdhycological effect of the order would affect the performance of the students in the subject.

 

”These children are already agitated, some of them may even miss this subject because of fear and those who eventually make it to the hall will be psychologically down and it will surely affect the results.

 

On his part a teacher at the school who also pleaded anonymity said the whole issue will definitely affect the results of the students in the entire South East.

 

“It is terrible and my fear is that it is mathematics that they are taking today. Of all the subjects, it is today that these children are sitting for mathematics that this rubbish is coming up. Mathematics is not a subject you can toy with, it requires total concentration and calm, but see as these children have been jolted and see the fears in their eyes, it will surely lead to mass failure in mathematics across the region.

 

However, the Anambra State Police Command said it has taken cognizance 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 state.

 

The Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, SP Toochukwu Ikenga in a press release said it was imperative to inform the public that actionable intelligence indicated that individuals enforcing the order fabricated threatening voice-over recordings and circulated outdated videos of violent incidents, some of which did not occur within the state or even the country.

 

He said, “The Command is fully aware of these secessionist’s activities and urge 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.

 

“As a recent example, on May 29, 2024, at approximately 2:00 PM, Police operatives laid an ambush on miscreants along Oba flyover in Idemili South. This led to the interception of a gang of four armed men operating on motorbikes.

 

“During the encounter, one miscreant was apprehended, while the other three managed to evade capture, sustaining bullet injuries in the process. The operatives recovered a locally made Barreta pistol, four expended cartridges, two phones, and incriminating evidence indicative of unpatriotic and disloyal behavior towards the Nigerian government”

 

“In light of these developments, the Commissioner of Police, CP Nnaghe Obono Itam, assures the people of Anambra State that their safety remains the utmost priority of the Police Command”

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has condemned in strongest terms the attack on a military check point at Obikabia junction in Ogbor Hill area of Aba, Abia State on Thursday by yet-to-be identified assailants which reportedly left 4 soilders dead.

 

In a release on Thursday, the deputy speaker said that the killing of the military personnel who were doing their lawful duty was unwarranted, outrageous, unjust, cruel and absolutely condemnable.

 

Kalu who represents Bende Federal Constituency of Abia State said that Aba people better known for their enterprising spirit and technical skills cannot be hoodwinked to think that locking up their shops and closing their businesses to stay at home was in their best interest.

 

Reminding the people that Aba is the commercial nerve centre of the South East and as such plays host to people from all walks of life, Kalu also urged them not to trade their known hospitality with violence, saying that it is alien to the culture of  Ndi Igbo.

 

He said that while efforts are ongoing to quell the rising wave of insecurity and restore peace in the whole of the South East region through a non kinetic approach championed by Peace In South East (PISE-P), it was unnecessary to engage in acts capable of truncating the gains already made.

 

The deputy speaker appealed to the people to support the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu which has vested unusual interest in the development of the South East, saying that doing otherwise will affect the fortunes of the region.

 

Suing for peace amongst the people and the Nigerian armed forces across the State, Kalu also commiserated with the families of the victims, assuring the military hierarchy of legislative interventions to help unravel the masterminds of the attack and ensure that the unhealthy development does not reoccur in the future.

 

.Uzodimma condemns killing of soldiers by hoodlums in Abia

 

Also,.The Governor of Imo State and Chairman, South East Governors Forum, Senator Hope Uzodimma, has condemned in very strong terms the killing of soldiers who were on lawful duty in Aba, Abia State by hoodlums masquerading as members of the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).

 

 

 

The soldiers were ambushed and then killed by the gang of criminals who claimed to be enforcing a sit at home order in the South East.

 

 

 

Governor Uzodimma who addressed the media on Thursday in Government House Owerri had condemned the dastardly act which he said occured without provocation.

 

 

 

Governor Uzodimma urged the security agencies to “go all out and ensure that those behind it are caught and brought to book.”

 

 

 

He bemoaned what happened as “unfortunate, without any reason as innocent people doing their lawful duty were gunned down.”

 

 

 

He said the unfortunate situation was  a major setback on the peace process which the Governors of the South East have been pursuing vigorously by engaging the Federal government, security agencies and other critical stakeholders on how best to resolve the problem of insecurity in the South East.

 

 

 

Governor Uzodimma regretted that the action will erroneously portray the people of South East in bad light “as if we don’t have sympathy for human lives or that the peace process being pursued is not appreciated.”

 

 

 

The Governor seized the opportunity to condole with the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Toured Lagbaja, the Nigeria Army and the families of the soldiers who lost their loved ones in the unfortunate incident.

 

 

 

However, he reiterated the resolve of the leadership of the people of South East in general and the Governors in particular, not to leave any stone unturned to ensure that the needed peace to develop the region is achieved.

 

 

 

Governor Uzodimma repeated the call on the security agencies to do their job without hindrance and to ensure that those behind the dastardly act are fished out so as to serve as deterrent to others.

 

 

 

On the activities of the perpetrators of the killing, the Governor who described them as criminals said they were propelled by the memory of the past that is still hunting them, noting that, “we should find courage and appreciate the fact that a lot of work had gone into the peace process.”

 

 

 

He maintained that the South East region in general and Imo State in particular crave for peace and advised the people to come out and go about their businesses “without fear of any molestation by anybody.”

 

 

 

He  insisted that his government is doing her best in the area of security “and God is supporting and helping us.”

 

 

 

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