Ipob's sit-at-home directive records 70% success across the southeast as response is mixed

CALLS by the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) for a sit-at-home protest across the southeast yesterday to mark the 51st Biafran Remembrance Day have been described as 70% successful despite opposition to the move by some state governors.


Biafra was declared on May 30 1967 and the short-lived republic existed for 30 months until January 1970 when it collapsed after the Nigerian Civil War. Ipob, which has been campaigning for Igbos from Nigeria's southeast geopolitical zone to secede and recreate Biafra, called on all businesses to shut down yesterday.


In an attempt to paralyse economic activity across the zone, Ipob had said that anyone who operates is a traitor to the Igbo cause. However, some state governors opposed the move, with Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State threatening any trader who did not open their shop that they would have it confiscated.


Feedback from across the southeast indicated that shops, markets and banks were shut down in Enugu, Aba, Onitsha and Nnewi while Awka saw some economic activity. Ipob's sit-at-home order was ignored in Owerri  and Umuahia, while in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, it flopped  as citizens heeded Governor Umahi's warning.


In Awka, the Anambra State capital, what was perceived as fear of what might happen, kept most people  indoors in the morning. Banks in Awka, however, operated without any molestation, just as government and private offices were also open for businesses.


There was total compliance in Enugu, however, as shops, markets and schools stayed closed with few people seen around, although few commercial transport businesses were seen making brisk business and picking up few commuters who had come out. At the ever-busy Main Market Enugu, nearly all the shops were closed and the few open shops were seen selling to customers who came to make purchases.


In Nsukka, business and  social engagements were partial as few people were seen moving about major spots in the area. At Ogige market, few traders were seen opening their shops and business places while many others were under lock and key.


In Onitsha and Nnewi there was total compliance with the Ipob call, with all the markets and shops in the two cities shut. Commercial banks, roads and streets markets  all observed the directive as people stayed back in their homes in observance of the directive.