Biafra: How Southeast stood still at Nnamdi Kanu’s command
Kazeem Ugbodaga, with Agency Report
The entire Southeast Nigeria stood still on Monday in compliance with the order of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for residents to sit at home to mark Biafra day.
IPOB’s leader, Nnamdi Kanu had issued an order that residents in the five eastern states should stay at home on Monday, May 31. Despite the rantings by governors of the region, the people chose to obey Kanu and stayed way.
The streets were deserted, not even the Federal Government’s order is ever obeyed like this one. No vehicular movement, no trading, the southeast states were like ghost town on Monday.
Economic activities were paralysed in many areas, despite government’s assurance that people should come out and that they would be protected, residents chose to stay away. Schools, banks, companies and others were closed. Residents understand the mayhem that has greeted southeast in the last few months, with series bombing, attack on helpless policemen, police stations, INEC offices, among others on daily basis. No one needs to be told to stay away to salvage their lives, especially when confidence in governments of the day has completely waned.
In Umuahia, the Abia capital, and adjoining villages, residents stayed back home, leaving the streets, especially the ever-busy city centre, known as Isigate, completely deserted.
Government offices, schools, banks, shops, business centres, markets, malls and plazas and petrol outlets remained closed.
Also, private and commercial vehicles kept off the roads, leaving the metropolis like a ghost town.
In Imo, socio-economic activities were also at a standstill amidst heavy security presence in major cities and towns, including Owerri, the state capital.
Markets, roadside shops, malls and filling stations were not open, while suburbs near Owerri blocked all their entrances to ward off invasion by stranger elements.
Areas with heavy security presence include Akachi, Okigwe and Dick Tiger Roads, Imo State University Junction, Control Junction, Airport Junction, Obiangwu-Ngor Okpala and Amakohia- Akwakuma Flyover and the World Bank/Umuguma Junction.
In Awka, Anambra State, residents also complied with the directive as hotels, restaurants and markets in the city and surrounding villages remained closed. Also, schools, government offices and banks did not open, in spite of the deployment of heavy security in the area.
In Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, social and economic activities were brought to a standstill as businesses and shops remained closed. movement was paralysed in the area as people stayed at home.
the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike Ikwo (AEFUNAI) in Ebonyi cancelled all academic activities slated for Monday in a bid to protect the lives of students. Also, banks, companies and others were shut.
In Enugu, Socio-economic activities were shut down. According to the News Agency of Nigeria all the streets, markets, banks, schools and government offices were closed. Also closed for businesses were filling stations, malls and even hospitals.
Major markets – Mayor, Garki, Ogbete, New Market – were all shut down; while banks, other financial institutions, shops, malls and newspaper distribution axis did not open for business.
The compliance to the sit-at-home order was near 100 percent. It was a success story for IPOB and its leader, Kanu, muzzling the southeast governors and staking a claim to the region.