From Okey Sampson, Umuahia, Stanley Uzoaru,Owerri, Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki, Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu, Obinna Odogwu, Awka and Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha and Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Residents of Abia, Imo, Enugu and Ebonyi states, yesterday, stayed at home for the third consecutive Monday despite the suspension of the weekly sit-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The order began three weeks ago to pressure the Federal Government to release its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
Regardless of announcements by the leadership of IPOB over the week concerning suspension of the order, residents of the five eastern states have continued to stay at home ostensibly for fear of the unknown.
In Umuahia, many shops remained closed, as commercial bus and tricycle operators were off the streets. Banks and other corporate offices did not open for business.
Government offices were opened in obedience to directive of the state government but few workers were at work as many found it difficult to trek to their offices.
Reports from Aba said though there were no cases of molestation by hoodlums, residents stayed at home out of fear. Major markets, banks and other public institutions were shut.
In Imo, the usual traffic jam and commercial activities in Owerri and other urban centres were absent as banks, business centres,markets, filling stations, schools, health centres, mobile food vendors and the hospitality industries were shutdown.
“Our people will continue to stay at home on Mondays until Nnamdi Kanu is released from detention, that is the only way we can stop the Sit-at-home order,” a resident told Daily Sun in Owerri.
Like Owerri, Abakaliki, capital of Ebonyi State was deserted.Our correspondent who moved round the city observed that filling stations and commercial banks did not open for services.The popular Margret Umahi International Market, the building materials market and spare parts market were also shut.However, government offices at the Ochudo Centenary City Secretariat and Old Government House were opened while security agents patrolled the capital city to ensure people were not harassed by hoodlums.
On Sunday, Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Garba, had urged residents to go about their normal and legitimate businesses without fear of attacks from any group.
In Enugu, banks, fuel stations and street shops were locked as people were afraid of attacks.
Some supporters of Kanu and IPOB who spoke to Daily Sun said it would be difficult to end the lockdown every Monday except the order comes directly from the IPOB leader.
In Awka, Anambra State, while some stayed back out of fear, others willfully continued with it. Some shops opened for business while others did not.Many roads were deserted even as some major markets did not open. At the popular Eke Awka Market, some traders came around but did not open their shops while some displayed their wares. There were also some others who simply stayed back at home.
Our Correspondent who monitored the situation in Onitsha reports that all the major markets including Main Market, banks, parks, some filling stations were shutdown due to fear of unknown. Also major roads leading to Main Market Onitsha such as Old Market, New Market, Venn Roads were deserted as young boys turned the roads to football pitches.
At Upper Iweka and Bridgehead Onitsha most of motor parks were shut while few vehicles were seen going in or out of Onitsha to Asaba.
A trader, Mr. Uche Nwogah, said the exercise has been hijacked by hoodlums to rob and maim innocent citizens in the name of enforcing the sit-it-home order.
•Go tough on IPOB members –IG
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Alkali Baba Usman, has charged officers of the Delta State command to deal decisively with any IPOB member.
He handed down the charge in Asaba while on a one-day working visit to the command.
Reacting to challenges raised by the Commissioner of Police, Ari Muhammed Ali during a welcome address, Usman said the proximity of Asaba to Anambra would make it susceptible to aggressions from the eastern part of the country.
“It is expected that whatever affect Anambra State may likely affect, especially Asaba. It is just the bridge that is separating the towns.
“There are always spillover of agitations and demonstrations from Onitsha to Asaba.
“That is why you need to get prepared to deal with any crime or criminality to ensure that those trouble makers are brought to book.
“You (officers) need to brace up to the IPOB challenge because it is a proscribed organisation, and treat them as such.”
The IGP was, however, silent on the challenge of incessant farmers/herders clashes in the state.