The Indigenous People of Biafra’s sit-at-home order was flouted in parts of Enugu, Abia, Ebonyi states as the police are set for a showdown with the group which is marking the anniversary of the Biafra Republic Remembrance Day.
Checks around the three states revealed that residents went to church on Sunday and some have also opened their shops and going about their businesses.
According to Daily Trust, IPOB and the police are on the verge of a showdown over the sit-at-home order issued by the leader of the group, Nnamdi Kanu, to mark the Biafra Republic Remembrance Day.
The celebration, which holds on May 30 every year and was supposed to be held today, was shifted to Monday, May 31, to avoid any conflict with the Christian worshippers and to prove that the directive of the embattled leader of the group is obeyed.
The South-East and South-South police had assured the people of the security of lives and property but warned that whoever breached relative peace, law and order in the wake of the audacious order should first write their will.
Therefore, the battle line is drawn between the security agencies and the group.
There is palpable tension and anxiety among residents in some parts of the affected states, such as Anambra, Abia, Imo, Ebonyi and Enugu, as well as Delta, Rivers and Akwa Ibom.
While the echoes of the dreadful order are already around in some states and taking a toll on their socio-economic activities as some residents heeded the directive at the weekend, normal businesses went on in other states as though nothing was in the offing.
Despite assurances of safety given to them by the Imo State Government, residents of Owerri, the Imo State capital, on Saturday, obeyed the order.
Consequently, economic and social activities in the city and its environs were grounded as shops, malls, supermarkets and markets remained closed. Roads were also empty as motorists and pedestrians stayed off the streets.
Some residents who dared to step out were stranded as many of them were unable to reach their destinations nor could find vehicles to go back home.
They also bemoaned the rampant arrests and detention of citizens by security agents, saying it is deterring them from pursuing legitimate means of livelihood.
Many of those who spoke to the newspaper at the weekend said though the sit-at-home order was to take effect on Monday, they decided to stay indoors because of rampant shooting and indiscriminate arrests by the police.
“People are afraid of being arrested for no just cause. Because of the situation at hand, everyone is tagged an IPOB or Eastern Security Network (ESN) member.
“An incident happened at Ogbo Oshishi Timber Market where a boy helping his mother to sell food was arrested, along with people eating in the makeshift restaurant.
“When the woman pleaded for her son, the policeman slapped her,” a resident said.’
Another resident of Naze, Ndukwe, lamented that some soldiers and Air Force personnel blocked the Aba-Owerri Road, shooting sporadically.
Meanwhile, residents in Ebonyi State shunned the order on Saturday. Daily Trust gathered that markets, hotels, the Abakaliki Rice Mill, motor parks and shops opened for business. Taxi, tricycle and motorbike transporters also operated.
Also, there was no compliance in parts of Enugu, Umuahia, Aba, visited on Saturday and Sunday.
From Idaw River to Uwani in Enugu South Local Government Area, to Coal Camp, New Market, to Edinburgh Road, Ogui Road, where Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium is located in Enugu North Local Government Area, to New Haven, Independence Layout, Garki and other places, people were seen moving about their normal businesses without fear. Traders opened shops in several markets.
“Ordinarily, a newcomer in Enugu may think that people not moving about in the early hours of Saturday indicated compliance, but in fact, residents of the town are simply complying with the monthly sanitation programme of the Enugu State Government.
“Therefore, there is nothing like sit-at-home order,” said Mr Ikenna Anichukwu, a teacher and resident of Obiagu Road.
Tricycle operators, business owners, timber market, commercial bus drivers, all the inter-state motor parks, were fully operational without obstruction.