Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
In compliance with the sit-at-home declaration by Igbo separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to honour their heroes, there was total lockdown in Onitsha, the commercial centre of Anambra State, as all markets, schools and banks were closed.
Daily Sun observed that human and vehicular movements were restricted, with raders and residents deciding to stay indoors.
At the time of filling this report no vehicle was moving of out or into Onitsha from the bridgehead, as the Enugu-Onitsha expressway was deserted by motorists and commuters. However, there was a smattering of commercial tricycle taxia still working in the eastern city.
All the markets, including the Onitsha main market, Ochanja market, Ogbaru Relief market, New spare parts market Nkpor, old spare parts market Obosi, building material market Ogidi, with traders refusing to trade even in cases where they were open for business.
The busy New Market and Old Market roads leading to the Onitsha main market were deserted, young boys turning the roads into football pitches.
A trader, Chief Nnana Udenze, who spoke to Daily Sun, said that the 30 May ‘sit-at-home’ has been an annual observance for Igbos and Biafran separatists at large to honour those who died as a result of the Nigeria Civil War (1967-1970).
“I want to appreciate the way and manner the sit-at-home is being done now, where everybody will stay at home to mediate and pray for our brothers and sisters who lost their lives in the struggle,” Chief Udenze said, further adding that, according to him, “this approach is the best, than the youths coming out on the road in procession and in the process security agents killing them.”
A resident opposing the action, Mr Charles Odune, said that Igbos would lose billions of naira because of the closure of markets and other places, saying that Igbo people, being predominantly traders, would be the ones to lose more than any other people.
“Inasmuch as we want to honour those who lost their lives during the Biafran war, must we shut everywhere down?,” the frustrated resident asked.
“We are the ones to lose because it is when we do our business that we eat. We should look for the best way to honour the fallen heroes, not necessarily closing everywhere. I don’t know what we will gain by this?” Odune said.