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Call it fear, or perhaps obedience, but the sit-at-home order issued by the proscribed group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) recorded almost 100 per cent compliance as all social and economic activities were shut down most parts of the south east.

At least eleven people died in  Enugu, Abia and Imo states in killings and confrontation between hoodlums and policemen.

IPOB had called for people to stay at home in commemoration of the massacre of thousands in Igbos before the outbreak of the Nigerian Civil War in 1967.

In Imo State, from Owerri to Okigwe and to Orlu senatorial zones, not a single market or big enterprise was open. Banks were totally shut and not even customers dared to go to any Automated Teller Machine (ATM) to get money.

Perhaps due to the total compliance with the sit-at-home order, there was nobody on any road, just as there was no incident in Imo.

Douglas Road in Owerri considered a market street in the state was a shadow of itself as the place was totally deserted and nobody, not even youths, were on the road to play football as they are wont to in times past. It was unlike Saturday and Sunday when there was partial compliance.

Orlu and Okigwe zones also recorded total adherence to the sit-at-home order.

A man who identified himself simply as Odogwu said the recent security skirmishes in the state contributed to the total compliance of the order as everyone was scared and concerned about their own safety.

Military helicopters were sighted hovering around the Imo airport area with no vehicular movement in major roads of Owerri, the Imo State capital.

Markets, roadside shops, malls and filling stations also remained closed, with heavy presence of security operatives in major junctions in Owerri and its environs.

Communities around Owerri suburbs locked all entrances to their communities to ward off invaders.

Some of the places with heavy security presence are the Akachi, Okigwe and Dick Tiger Road, Imo State University junction, Control junction, Airport junction, Obiangwu-Ngor Okpala, Amakohia- Akwakuma flyover and the World Bank/ Umuguma junction.

Some residents who spoke with our correspondent said they obeyed the order to be on the safe side.

Mrs Chinyere Obi, a trader said: “I have not displayed my wares today. In fact, my table is upside down so that I will not be labelled a saboteur.”

Another trader, Chidi Odu, who lives around Akwakuma, a suburb of Owerri, said she could not bring her wares outside her compound for fear IPOB members might be moving around.

Ndu Francis, a tailor, said he obeyed the sit-at-home order because everyone around his area was at home.

He said that opening his shop might be an effort in futility as clients might not readily come around out of fear.

Also, respondents who spoke with LEADERSHIP from Ahiazu and Aboh Mbaise areas said that while there were no vehicular movements, helicopters were heard passing overhead at intervals.

Following the shootout between the police and hoodlums in Mbaise yesterday, residents said that there was uneasy calm in the area.

Chimezie Odom from Nnarambia in Ahiazu Mbaise who spoke to us said that shops in the area were closed with no vehicular movement.

Charles Osuagwu from Aboh Mbaise said that the streets are empty and noiseless, adding that there was heavy presence of security operatives in the area.

Ebuka Felix, a bus driver, expressed displeasure at the situation saying he would be losing money he would have made if he were plying on the road.

In River State, residents of Port Harcourt yesterday ignored the sit-at-home order by IPOB and went about their normal businesses.

However, one person was seriously injured yesterday when an explosive suspected to be dynamite exploded at the Mile Three Market in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

The explosion, which occurred at about 6:30am, caused pandemonium in the market as traders and their early morning customers fled in different directions.

LEADERSHIP observed that after about one hour when it was ascertained that there were no casualties in the incident, and with the arrival of security operatives at the scene, the traders returned and continued with their business.

When contacted, the police public relations officer in the state, Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the incident.

LEADERSHIP observed that while the roads and streets were full of traffic as against what obtained in previous years, almost all the markets, including Mile Three, Mile One and Ikoku Spare Parts market were open.

It was further observed that traders at the Ikoku Spare Parts market, who used to lead in activities of IPOB and Biafra agitation, could not lock their shops and sit at home due to ongoing demolition of some structures in market to pave the way for the construction of a flyover project on Ikwerre Road.

Some of the traders who spoke with LEADERSHIP said they cannot be observing the directives of IPOB and leave hoodlums to loot their shops during the demolition exercise.

One of the traders, Chukwuma Onu said: “My brother, you can see what is going on here; they are demolishing Ikoku Market to build flyover and thugs are looting people’s shops because there is no security presence here.

“Some of us decided not to sit at home as ordered by IPOB because how do you expect me to sit at home and allow thugs loot all the wares in my shop. I know that the demolition may not get to my shop but I don’t want to take chances.”

In every part of Anambra State, virtually every sector, including markets, commercial banks, schools, government offices, petrol stations, entertainment centres, street trading and other businesses, etc., were abandoned yesterday as residents complied IPOB’s directive.


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