IPOB: Aba Residents Comply, Umuahia Residents Ignore Directive


Residents of Aba in Abia on Thursday complied with the sit-at-home directive, issued by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group.

But, residents of Umuahia, the Abia capital largely ignored the directive, according to correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in the cities.

IPOB has been issuing the directive yearly to honour millions of ethnic Igbos, who lost their lives in the bitter Nigeria-Biafra civil war, which ended 39 years ago.

Records have it that up to three million people lost their lives during the war, which ended in 1970 with the Federal Government declaring a no-victor no-vanquished policy.

A NAN correspondent in Aba reported that most residents of the commercial city did not venture out and that a few people who did could not find vehicles to go to their destinations.

The popular Ariaria Market was open but there was no business activity, while many schools were under lock and key.

A trader at the market, Mr Simeon Ogbonna, said he came out to see that every part of the market was empty, although the market was open for business.

At the Eke-Oha Market in the city centre, major entrances into the market were open but commercial activities were not taking place.

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Shops were also locked at the Jubilee Road Spare Parts Market and Saint Michael’s Road Phone and Computer Accessories Market.

A resident, Levi Onwuserokwu, described the sit-at-home order, to remember fallen heroes of the war as proper because the dead deserved respect.

“If we did not remember the sacrifices of our fallen heroes how can we pray for the repose of their souls?,’’ Onwuserokwu asked.

Meanwhile, police vehicles could be seen patrolling streets of the city with heavy deployments of troops at flashpoints and major entrances to the market.

The Police Area Commander in Aba, ACP. Peter Opara, told NAN that the city was calm and that flashpoints in town were free of trouble-makers.

He said, however, that some markets were open but that there were no buyers or sellers to transact businesses.

However, in neighbouring Umuahia, business activities were in full swing with schools, private and government offices opened for business.

But police convoys paraded major streets, blaring sirens and mounting checkpoints at various spots.

A cross-section of residents, who spoke to NAN, said the IPOB directive was of no effect.

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A trader, Mr Daniel Chima, lamented that there was no unity of purpose among the Igbos, to get everyone to comply with the sit-at-home directive.

“We the Igbos, particularly in Umuahia are not united. Umuahia residents are not co-operating with other residents in the South East.

“Nnamdi Kanu is from Umuahia but Umuahia has ignored the order. I came out to sell because I saw others who have come out as well.

“I was supposed to go to Aba today to purchase some goods but I called my brother, who resides there and he told me I shouldn’t come because Aba was observing the sit-at-home directive.”

A resident, Chkwumeremeze Udu, blamed leaders of IPOB for not creating adequate awareness on the directive.

“As you can see, I’m in my shop. I was not aware that there was such directive until I came to shop this morning.

A Biafra campaigner, Kelechi Michael, said he remained a Nigerian until a time that a document would be signed to declare a sovereign State of Biafra.

“They have not yet signed Biafra. So why should I risk my life or sit at home when I’m supposed to look for my daily bread?

“We want peace, not war. In Umuahia, unlike other states in the South East, nobody will sit at home. The state government is not even in support of the directive,” he said.

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A teacher, Mrs Rosemary Orji, said her school had contemplated earlier to send pupils home for safety but rescinded the decision when they noticed that everywhere was calm.

“Nobody has come to harass or molest us. We are carrying out our normal activities. We have also called our pupils who wanted to sit at home because of fear that they should come to school,” she said.

NAN recalls that IPOB through its leader, Mr Nnamdi Kanu, an indigene of Umuahia, had directed its members and residents, to sit at home on May 30 every year, to mark the Remembrance Day for Biafra fallen heroes.

However, the Abia Commissioner of Police, Mr Ene Okon, had told residents of the state to ignore the directive by the pro-Biafra agitators this year.

He said that the police in collaboration with other security agencies had put measures in place to prevent a breakdown of law and order.

Two years ago, an Abuja Federal High Court, proscribed IPOB and declared it a terrorist group.

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