The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, the proscribed sociopolitical group announced a sit-at-home which is to be observed on October 1, Independence Day in South-east states. The sit-at-home order by (IPOB), however, failed in most states as there was a partial adherence in the South-East and some parts of the South-South States on Independence Day. People went about the businesses in Onitsha and Nnewi in Anambra, and Aba in Abia state against the order of IPOB.
Although some traders closed their shops for the day, it was not clear if this was in observance of the holiday or in compliance to the IPOB order.
Men and Women in Ebonyi, Imo, Enugu and few others States, ignored the order as people went about their normal business activities. Banks and government owned offices did not open due to the public holiday declared by the Federal Government.
Loveth Odah, Police spokesperson in Ebonyi state, claimed that there is no reported case of harassment from citizens by any group(s) in the state.
According to her statement, she said, ‘we are on visibility patrol in the state. There is no reported case of harassment. Ebonyi people should stay safe, obey the laws and go about their normal businesses.’
Angela Onu, a resident of Owerri said that IPOB was being insensitive to the predicament of the people by calling for a sit-at-home order in this difficult time.
She said, ‘we just came out of a lockdown, the economy is at a very low ebb and people are suffering, yet IPOB wants people to leave work for a day. IPOB should have shelved the exercise till when the economy picks up a bit.’
However, there was total compliance in some other states as the usual hustling and bustling on roads, motor parks was reduced drastically, likewise shops and markets in Onitsha and Nnewi were closed down.
The Niger bridge was virtually empty with few vehicles, especially tankers, entering and exiting Onitsha intermittently.
According to one Miss Jane Maduagbutu, a newspaper vendor, ‘The people complied with the order. Look at this place that Keke riders used to flock and the bus stop there that always witnessed many vehicles. They are not there. This shows that some people complied. You can see those locked shops.’
A trader spoke in opposition to this saying, ‘Since I started living in Onitsha, markets have always remained closed on October 1. Traders hardly open their shops on the day. They always observe the day as a public holiday to celebrate Nigeria’s independence.’
‘I think IPOB just played a smart one by putting the sit-at-home thing on the Independence Day. They should not take the glory.’
There were reports of violence in some parts of the state, particularly in the Oyigbo Local Government Area, Port Harcourt, where men suspected to be members of the IPOB group clashed with the police, allegedly razed down a building, and killed a policeman attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in the clash.
Emma Powerful, IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, in a statement said the order was a success, and that it was a confirmation of the group’s readiness for the independence of Biafra.