•Sit-at-home recorded 100% success —IPOB
Six people were yesterday feared dead in Aboh Mbaise, Imo State, and Nnewi, Anambra State, as security agents clashed with enforcers of the sit-at-home order at the instance of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
Generally, the sit-at-home order recorded total compliance across states in the South East and where resistance was suspected, IPOB enforcers moved around to ensure compliance.
IPOB, through its Director of Media and Publicity, Emma Powerful, had said that human and vehicular movements would be restricted across Biafran land every Monday, starting from yesterday, August 9, 2021, until Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is released unconditionally from detention.
Four persons were said to have been killed by the unknown gunmen in Aboh-Mbaise as IPOB enforcers combed communities to enfocre the sit-at-home order . There was shooting in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State by unknown gunmen from Banana junction up to Nkwito junction yesterday.
The incident occurred at about 01:30 pm which forced residents to take cover in their various houses as motorists completely avoided Orlu main town.
Vanguard gathered that the problem started when the unknown gunmen were moving to some places within and outside the Orlu Local Government Area of the state to enforce the sit-at-home order.
The armed men were also said to have set ablaze a house in Isiala-Amadim village at Amaifeke in Orlu Local Government Area of the state.
The gunmen moved to Mbaise axis where they set ablaze two commercial buses at Ngwogwu in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State at about 08:30am.
It was gathered that one of the buses was heading to Umuahia and the other one to Owerri when they were attacked.
The two buses were completely burnt, while some other buses were asked to return to Owerri.
An eyewitness told Vanguard: “Two persons inside one of the buses were burnt to death and a passenger was shot dead. A driver of one of the buses was killed.
”This incident happened this morning and as I am talking to you now, there is no movement, not even a bus. People are in their houses now.
“We are living in fear now. These unknown gunmen are giving us trouble. Is this how we will get this thing that we are looking for?”
When Vanguard contacted Imo State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mike Abatam, he said the Police had commenced investigations into reports of violence and burning of buses.
*Owerri locked down
Owerri, Imo State capital, was yesterday, shutdown completely in full compliance with the sit-at-home order issued by the leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
When Vanguard moved around the commercial centres in the municipality, including Douglas Road, Tetlow Road, Royce Road, School Road, Old Market Road, Mbaise Road, Christ Church Road, Njemanze Street and Ekeonunwa Street, it was discovered that all the shop owners did not display their wares.
The story was the same in the ever busy Rotobi Street which houses all the national newspapers.
A newspaper sales representative, who spoke on strict grounds of anonymity, told Vanguard: “While the newspaper offices were open for business, some of the papers were yet to arrive Owerri, as at 1.28pm.
”Only about six vendors braved it to Rotobi Street to collect the day’s paper. In my view, the sit-at-home order was effectively observed in Owerri.”
Reacting also, the owner of a busy pharmacy along Wetheral Road (name withheld), said: “I am not an IPOB loyalist but there is no point taking a costly chance. Not opening for business today (yesterday), will not diminish what I have strived to build over the years. I have chosen to play safe.”
Similarly, all the big names in the transport sector of the economy did not load their vehicles for any trip within or outside Imo State.
All the recognized and illegal motor parks in Owerri, were similarly shut, as Vanguard did not sight any commuter vehicle in them.
A visit to the Federal and State Secretariat Complexes, along Port Harcourt Road, Owerri, showed that only a handful of civil servants were seen at their desks.
*2 shot dead in soldiers clash with civilians in Nnewi
In Nnewi, the industrial city of Anambra State, all the markets, street shops, business houses, industries and banks were all closed for business as residents and traders deserted the roads following the bloody clash that erupted at about 9am in the city.
The sit-at-home got bloody in Nnewi with two people losing their lives in a confrontation between the Army and suspected members of IPOB.
The two people who died during the bloody confrontation that happened at Izuchukwu junction area of Nnewi roundabout, according to an eyewitness, were alleged to be a leader of IPOB and a commercial motorcyclist.
Vanguard gathered that the problem started at about 7.00am when some IPOB members allegedly came out to enforce the order and in the process, blocked major roads in the industrial town.
Some unidentified soldiers were said to have rushed to the area to clear the items used to block the roads and in the process, an altercation ensued between them and the IPOB members, making the soldiers to fire at the motorcyclist and the IPOB member after which the soldiers quickly took off.
However, another source told Vanguard that the two people killed were commercial motorcyclists who came out for brisk business but were sighted near the blockade put on the road and the soldiers started questioning them why the road was blocked and following hot exchange of words, they were shot by the soldiers who hurriedly left the scene.
Meanwhile, the industrial town was reduced to a ghost town after the incident as the people who initially came out to survey the level of compliance rushed back home to save their lives.
Some vehicles were also smashed by aggrieved persons over the attack on the civilians by armed soldiers.
However, in what was speculated to be a reprisal attack following the killing of the two persons by unidentified soldiers in Nnewi, the Police Area Command Nnewi yesterday afternoon, came under a heavy attack. The attack of the Police Area Command caused pandemonium amongst the residents of the industrial town.
Vanguard gathered that the unknown gunmen went to the Police station in seven vehicles and started shooting sporadically, an exercise that lasted for over one hour.
Another source told Vanguard that the gunmen overpowered the Police men and carted away their arms, adding that the attacking gunmen had left before reinforcement from other security agencies arrived the Area Command.
There was no information yet on the number of casualties, but sources revealed that with the level of sporadic shootings there, it would only take the grace of God not to have any casualty in the attack.
While some people speculated that four Policeman were killed, a security operative close to the police command in the area said that nobody was killed but weapons were carted away by the hoodlums.
The Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr Tochukwu Ikenga, when contacted at press time yesterday, said his office had not received the report on the attack.
*Total compliance in Onitsha
Business activities, schools, markets and street shops in Onitsha and Nnewi were under lock and key, while the ever busy roads were deserted by residents.
The ever busy and gridlock prone Niger Bridge was a ghost of itself. Both Onitsha and Asaba, the Delta State capital ends were completely deserted just as the two pedestrian crossing of both sides of the bridge were completely deserted.
The ever busy Onitsha/ Enugu expressway from Niger Bridge Head area of Onitsha to Upper Iweka through Army Barracks to Zik’s roundabout, to Nkpor and old Ogbunike tollgate, were completely deserted by residents as no private cars, commercial buses and tricycles were sighted along the areas.
All the markets in Onitsha including the popular and and highly populated Onitsha Main Market, Ochanja Central Market, Bridge Head Medicine Market, popularly known as Ogbo Ogwu and the Bridge Head Market housing over 28 autonomous markets were all shut for business. Popular Onitsha food market, Ose Okwodu and Coca-Cola market located along Onitsha Enugu expressway and Relief Market Okpoko were all shut from business activities.
The popular Provision Market, the Relief Market, located opposite Upper Iweka Fly over, Electronics International Market, along Enugu Onitsha expressway opposite Premier Breweries, the New Auto Spare Parts and New Tyre Market all located in Nkpor and the Building Materials International Market Ogidi; Concessionaires and Bakery Market located opposite it were also closed for business and the perennial traffic hold-up in the area disappeared.
Other markets and small scale industries, like Osakwe Industrial Cluster, where plastic and waterproof materials are produced and the old Motor Spare Parts Markets, popularly known as Ngbuka Obosi Market, were all shut down in compliance to the sit-at-home directed by IPOB.
All banks located within Onitsha, its environs and suburbs and the ones located near all the popular and small markets in the commercial city, including those located in Awada, Obosi, Nkpor, New Market and Old Market roads in Onitsha, were all closed for business contrary to their earlier plan to open for business following the Anambra State government’s directive that workers in the state must report to work.
*Civil servants reported to work around noon in Awka
In Awka, the sit-at-home order was observed in the major cities during the morning hours but ended around noon.
Shops started opening in Awka when they observed that there were no IPOB members harassing people although the Awka main market did not open for business until afternoon.
Civil servants who tried to be in their offices as directed by the state Head of Service, HOS, were unable to do so because commercial vehicles were off the roads in obedience to the IPOB order.
However, most of them later went to their offices when vehicles returned to the roads.
When Vanguard visited the Jerome Udorji secretariat in Awka, many workers were on their duty posts but the population was not as it used to be.
The Onitsha- Owerri highway and the Awka- Ekwulobia road were totally devoid of the usual traffic, while the banks and the filling stations were all shut as at the time of filling this report.
At Ichida in Anaocha local government, some youths mounted road blocks and any vehicle that came that way was asked to part with some money.
A woman who was traveling from Awka to Ihiala to attend her community’s annual August meeting told Vanguard that she was forced to part with some money at two road blocks before she reached her destination.
There were no police presence in most of the towns in the state as all the usual checkpoints were deserted.
Enugu State was yesterday, grounded following the sit-at-home order in solidarity for the release of it’s leader, Mazi, Nnamdi Kanu from detention.
Commercial activities came to a standstill in the state capital as residents deserted the streets and roads in compliance with the sit-at-home order.
Our correspondent who monitored the sit- at- home in Enugu gathered that commercial banks, schools, shops, malls, were all shut . There was no vehicular movement in the state metropolis.
All business activities were shut down. All markets were under lock and key. Public and private secondary and primary schools were shut down. Government offices and banks were also not opened for businesses. Petrol and gas filling stations were closed down as streets were totally deserted
*Commercial, academic activities in Nsukka paralysed
The university community in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State, yesterday, became a ghost town as commercial, academic and social activities were paralyzed in compliance with the sit-at-home order declared by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB.
Vanguard observed that the popular and ever-busy Ogige Market at the heart of the town was shut even as commercial banks closed their doors against their customers.
Even primary and secondary school managements were not left out on this compliance to the IPoB order as they turned back the pupils and students respectively to their homes.
Some residents who spoke to Vanguard on conditions of anonymity expressed their solidarity to IPoB but insisted that shutting down South East zone every Monday until Nnamdi Kanu is released from DSS custody is counter productive on the economy of the people, arguing that those who fend for their families by the virtue of what they earn from their daily handiworks would bear the brunt of the order.
They described the order as self-inflicting and pleaded with IPoB to rescind it for the good of the zone.
However, in his reaction, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nsukka Local Government Area Chapter, Prof. Damian Opata, said the order would drastically nose-dive the economy of the south east and plunge the people into irredeemable poverty.
Prof. Opata added that ruling by terrorizing the people is the direct opposite of what Biafra agitations were.
He asked IPoB to consider the collective and legal assent of the people in whatever they are doing.
*Aba completely shut down, partial compliance in Umuahia
The ever-busy Milverton Avenue in Aba habouring a luxury bus park was a ghost of itself while the streets were totally deserted.
Aba –Owerri and Ikot Ekpene, Tonimas , Faulks and Alaoji flyover ,in Aba, were deserted by motorists and shop owners.
Banks in the city were also under locks and key while schools were deserted both by pupils and teachers.
Roads were virtually empty except for occasional movement of vehicles on essential duties.
No security agents were sighted on the road in Aba.
But unlike Aba, there was a partial compliance in Umuahia the capital city as some shops in the metropolis opened for business.
There were also vehicular and human movements although not in full scale.
Banks in the city did not however open for business except customers who made their transactions through their Automatic Teller Machines, ATMs.
Orie Ukpa relief market was also open but not in full swing as witnessed on a normal day.
When our Correspondent visited the Umuahia North Local Government Secretariat, workers were seen at the premises.
Some streets in Umuahia were however empty as some youths were found playing football. A convoy of police team was also sighted patrolling major streets in Umuahia on show of force.
But there was no incident of violence or confrontation in any part of the state.
A resident of Umuahia, Mazi Ogbonnaya Nwakodo said “the sit-at-home is worth it. People are saying ‘release Nnamdi Kanu. He has not commited any crime as far as I am concerned. The exercise is a signal that Kanu is not alone. He is a hero for the masses. We trust him more than the unreliable political leaders who can sell us for their selfish interests. This protest will continue until he is released. Despite the huge cost, we are ready to sustain the agitation until he is released”.
*Ebonyi records partial compliance as stray bullet hits church member in the eye
The sit-at-home order recorded partial compliance in Ebonyi State, as most indigenes of the state were seen going about their normal businesses, while others were seen within their vicinities contemplating on the next line of action.
Vanguard gathered that all the transport companies located along Afikpo road opened for business but passengers were not seen boarding the vehicles to various destinations.
Some popular eatries, including Crunchies, opened for business, with few customers seen patronizing them.
Some parks, including popular Ishieke park located along Water-Works road within the metropolis, opened with car owners washing their cars.
However, commercial banks located on the axis of Ogoja road and Afikpo road did not open but their Automated Teller Machines, ATM, were dispensing cash to customers.
Some shops opened for businesses in the capital city, with both human and vehicular movements though not as it used to be before the sit-at-home was declared by IPOB.
The international market in the capital city opened for business but shops therein were completely empty without any form of business transactions.
Many filling stations in the capital city didn’t open for business, while very few others opened.
Civil servants defied the sit-at-home order as they were seen in their offices at Ochudo City Secretariat and Old Government House, Abakaliki.
In schools, only National Examination Council, NECO, candidates were seen writing their exams when Vanguard visited Urban Model Secondary School, Okpaugwu; Girls High School, Azuiyiokwu; and Overcomers Schools, Ozibo village, Echiaba Development Centre, Ebonyi local government area of the state.
The popular mechanic site was completely empty without any of the artisans at work.
In the early hours of yesterday, security agents were seen carrying out what they described as “show of force” in many patrol vans moving round the metropolis.
Vanguard authoritatively gathered that there were sporadic shootings at Ugwuachara community of Ebonyi Local Government Area of the state, causing panic and chaos in the area.
One of the victims of the shoot-out is a member of a new generation church in Ebonyi State. The victim was reportedly shot in the eyes, following an unconfirmed report of a gun battle between security forces and some criminals.
A leader of the church who did not want his name in print, said: “I just got a call from a member of the church that his wife has been shot in the eyes. I’m sending a doctor to look at the situation of the wife. It is related to the Ugwuachara shooting.”
*Sit at home recorded 100% success —IPOB
However, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has said that its sit- at – home order to show solidarity with its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, recorded 100 percent success.
In a statement by Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Comrade Emma Powerful, IPOB commend Biafrans, friends of Biafra and lovers of freedom who made the exercise a huge success despite what he described as counter orders from ‘unknown men working for DSS to discredit IPOB and its leadership.’
It stated that the quest to demand Nnamdi Kanu’s release will continue but from another dimension.
“We the global family of the IPOB ably led by our prophet and liberator, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, are delighted to note that this ghost town and sit-at-home order issued by IPOB leadership was 100% successful.”
“We equally thank our gallant security outfit and volunteer members who made this exercise a successful event today 9th of August 2021.
The unprecedented success and total compliance that greeted the exercise have sent panic waves down the spine of our oppressors and traitors amongst us that they are nobody in Biafra cause. Now they understand how prepared we are in our irrevocable resolve to restore Biafran Sovereignty, we will display our readiness towards this divine fight for Biafra freedom and independence from Nigeria.
“As we discover their readiness and commitment towards this fight, the leadership of IPOB have decided to have a review of strategy and the earlier statement made by IPOB about sit at home would be reviewed.
“We immensely thank the people of Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, Anambra, Abia, Delta, Imo, Rivers, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Enugu and Kogi States as well as Igbanke, Idoma and Igede, Igodomigodo people for being part of the success story. We equally extend our appreciation to our brothers and sisters in Ambazonia for their wonderful and total support of this sit at home order.
“We cannot fail to thank the Biafran Diaspora community for their inestimable contributions and their numerous protests across their county of residence and total support for our leader’s release and our struggle for independence. Biafrans in the Diaspora did us proud on numerous protests going on across the globe.
“The huge success recorded in the sit-at-home order today has again further demonstrated that IPOB is intact and has no issues with anybody, we are in unity and we can restore Biafra sooner than expected.
“All Biafrans must remain resolute in our struggle for self determination. How is it a crime to demand for the freedom of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who was illegally abducted in Kenya and renditioned to Nigeria. The rendition is totally against international law but we are watching very closely to see how the world will allow their laws to be broken with impunity by Fulani controlled Nigeria Government and her security agencies.
“Very soon, the stage will be set for our referendum to decide our fate. The oppressors are already jittery because they know what is coming. It’s already very clear to them that they can no longer stop the birth of our new nation called Biafra.”