TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
The sit-at-home order given by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was a flop in Port Harcourt and other cities in Rivers State.
Checks by our correspondent revealed that many shops in Port Harcourt and other cities in state opened for business activities, quite unlike in previous years, when members of the group and Biafran people observed the order, and paralysed business activities in the state.
Even the downpour in the state did not force the Biafra agitators indoor.
When our correspondent visited popular business areas in Port Harcourt like Ikoku (motor parts zone), Okija (electrical appliances), Mile 3 and Mile 4 (tiles) and Ojoto (motor tyres), most of the shops were opened for business activities.
In Oyigbo Local Government Area, the compliance was about 25 percent.
Some shop owners, who spoke to the reporter said they did not ignore the IPOB order outright, adding that they opened their shops for skeletal transactions, having observed Democracy Day public holiday which affected businesses on Monday, coupled with the early-morning downpour in the state.
A motor parts dealer at Ikoku and an IPOB member, Uchenna Dike, said he opened his shop because he had customers he would not want to lose because of their steady patronage, adding that he was fanatical about the Biafra course.
“I am a strong member of IPOB. I don’t hide myself and feelings. But, I came to market because there are some of my main customers, who told me that they would comi9ng to purchase some goods. So, I wouldn’t want to lose them. That does not mean I ignored the people’s order. Once they come and I attend to them, I will lock up and go home straight,” Dike stated.
Meanwhile, there was steady patrol of major roads in Port Harcourt by the police to forestall any breakdown of law and order in the state. Also, some security vehicles were positioned at some strategic places in the state capital.