As Abia, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi flops
*Protest ill-timed, says Uwazuruike
Tension was high yesterday when the Military Joint Task Force in Anambra State swooped on over 300 members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and members of the Movement for the Sovereign state of Biafra (MASSOB) at Atta junction, Onitsha.
The IPOB and MASSOB members were more organized this time around and they dispersed rather than engage the armed security agents and none of the 300 members were arrested by the joint task force.
The Military Task Force blocked the Niger Bridge allowing only one lane to enable them tackle the protesters some of who might be coming from the Asaba end.
The sit-at-home order was successful in Onitsha and Nnewi but partial in Awka.
In Onitsha markets were shut and in the few were open, traders were scanty as many preferred to stay out of danger zone.
This is even as MASSOB leaders hailed Biafrans for complying and adhering to their call to stay at home.
In a press statement signed by its Leader, Comrade Uchenna Madu, MASSOB said its demand for a civil disobedience against Nigeria is for the interest of Ndigbo.
The release stated: ‘’MASSOB hails Biafrana for complying and adhering to our National demands, our calls and demand for a civil disobedience against Nigeria state is for the general interest of Biafrans.
‘’MASSOB gladly salutes the the people of Biafra for their love, confidence and trust bestowed on IPOB, MASSOB and other Biafra agitating groups, the effect of today’s civil disobedience further proved that MASSOB and IPOB are Major factors to be reckons with in the affairs of Ndigbo and Nigeria in general.
‘’MASSOB demand for the immediate and unconditional release of Mazi Nnamdi KANU, Benjamin Onwuka, Chidiebere Onwudiwe and other detained pro Biafra agitators in Nigeria prisons mostly in Onitsha and Awka.
‘’The more these Biafran Jews are detained, Nigeria will continue to experience economic, political and diplomatic phenomenon that always cripple her system of existence. We see the heavy downpour that crippled scanty activities in Onitsha as a divine intervention and endorsement by Chukwu Okike Abiama (God of Abraham).
‘’MASSOB sees President Buhari as our pharaoh of Egypt who stubbornly refuses to hearken unto the voice and instructions of his servants but decided to challenge God, MASSOB warn that soon Nigeria will start experiencing the horrors of God’s wrath because of her Persecution, killings, marginalization and dishonouring of the Biafran Jews.”
In another statement signed by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Mr Emma Powerful, IPOB congratulated its members, Biafrans and all the people who showed them solidarity by obeying the sit at home order.
According to IPOB statement, “protest took place in all the continents of the world, countries in Europe ,America, South America, Australia, some Asian and other African countries.
“The countries where IPOB members observed the protest witness the protests are USA, Brazil, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Japan, Israel, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Spain, Italy, UK, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Mexico, Malaysia, UAE, South Africa, Ghana, Senegal, Egypt, Gabon, Togo, Kenya, Australia, Sweden Denmark, and China, and other countries too numerous to mention.
“Here in Biafraland, Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom. Cross Rivers, Imo, Delta and we thank the general public for observing the day with us, injustice can no more be encouraged, for showing us this kind of solidarity with the quest for the restoration of Biafra.
“We are most grateful, this is an assurance that people are in agreement with our zero tolerance for intimidation and harassment”.
Markets shut in Nnewi
Meanwhile, the Nnewi main market, shops, schools and financial institutions were yesterday shut in compliance to the sit at home order from the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in solidarity with the detained leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.
The ever-busy Nnewi main market was a shadow of its usual self when our correspondent visited the market in the early hours of yesterday.
Many shop owners did not turn up for business but some their boys who came out did not open but were seeing discussing in groups over the need for the federal government allow the Igbo control her resources and her affairs in an independent way in Biafra Republic.
Most of the nursery, primary and secondary schools in the town had earlier instructed parents and guardians not bring their children and wads to school in respect to the sit at home order.
A teacher in one of the Nursery/Primary schools in Nnewi who would not want her name in print said that her school decided to instruct parents not bring their children to school to avoid what she called unnecessary emergency.
She noted that many of the children may not be strong enough to run for their dear lives should occasion demands for it in the course of the day set aside by IPOB to honor its leader Nnamdi Kanu.
“Whenever there is this kind of directive, there is always a bloody clash between the over zealous security agencies and the demonstrators and we don’t want our pupils and students to be caught in the cross-fire” she explained.
The financial institutions and others offices did not open for business as the streets of Nnewi were generally deserted except for round about area of the town where there was light vehicular movement.
Many shops within the metropolitan Nnewi community equally observed the directive from IPOB that people should stay at home yesterday.
Security forces were however seeing taken guard at strategic positions in the town while some other ones patrolled the street to forestall a possible break down of law and order.
IPOB protests flop in Imo
The founder of MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike has said that he was not surprised at the non-compliance to the IPOB order by residents of Imo State to sit at home on Friday over the continued detention of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
Uwazuruike who disclosed this to The AUTHORITY on Saturday in Owerri,through MASSOB national director of information,Sunday Okereafor maintained that the order is wrongly timed,attributing the flop to the present recession crisis bedeviling Nigeria.
He stressed that a protest order on abandonment of business by Ndigbo now would only amount to further woes experienced by them in Nigeria.
Uwazuruike also said that the flop has justified MASSOB’s stand on total ignoring of the order by Ndigbo “this is not the best time to call for such protest,Ndigbo presently is marginalised by Nigeria,we can not afford to add to the predicament suffered by them”
Investigation by our correspondents revealed that residents in the state yesterday defiled the order and opened for normal business activities. Commercial vehicles,tricycles were also on their normal routes for business.
Setback in Aba
The protests suffered a major bashing in the commercial nerve center of Aba which
recorded relative peace and calm, with residents going about their
respective businesses without fear or molestation.
The IPOB had made a public proclamation that it was going to shut down
the South East, Friday to further press home the group’s demand for
the release of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, even as leadership of the
group had called on residents to rally support for the IPOB by staying
indoors, as well ad switching off their cell phones as a mark of
solidarity for their course.
The AUTHORITY on Saturday gathered that the setback may
not be unconnected with the heavy military presence in the commercial
Security agents displayed a show of strength patrol which saw them drive
round the Enyimba city in several Hilux Patrol vans on Thursday
evening, undoubtedly sending the signal that the proposed protests would be put down by the police and troops.
This coupled with the fear attached to the IPOB resolution, most of
Aba residents who are mainly traders, refused to step out of their
houses for their normal businesses while those
who ventured out, did so with uncertainty and apprehension of the
In parts of the city around the Ariaria International Market and its
environs, most parents refused to allow their wards and children go to school.
Again, our correspondet also found out that most civil and public
servants were reluctant going to their various offices for fear of the
unknown, if the protest eventually held. The result was skeletal office activities in parts of the commercial capital.
However, when The AUTHORITY on Saturday went round the commercial city in the
early afternoon hours, the city was bubbling with commercial
activities while all the roads and streets were free from traffic hold
up which used to characterize such protests in the past.
The Abia State Police Command through its Commissioner of
Police, Leye Oyebade, had warned citizens that it would deal decisively with anybody
or group that
attempts to disrupt economic as well as social activities in the State.
The police chief had insisted that it was only the government that
had the power to declare public holiday, just as he further warned
that any group that tries to infringe on the law by forcing
public holiday on the people would be dealt with decisively, in
accordance to relevant laws of the land
Release our son, Kanu’s parents beg Buhari
Also the parents of the detained leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, HRM Eze Israel Kanu, and Ugoeze Sally Kanu, have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, to free their son who they said committed no crime to be in prison.
Kanu has since October 2015 been in detention in Abuja prison over alleged treason.
Speaking with newsmen yesterday in his palace at Afarukwu Umuahia, the traditional ruler of Afaraukwu autonomous community said his son was innocent of all the charges preferred against him by the Federal Government, and should be released.
He argued that even the Nigerian constitution guarantees freedom of speech of citizens, wondering why his son should continue to be held behind bars for merely demanding for Biafra self- rule.
“I want my son released because he committed no crime. He is not armed, he is only fighting for his right”, the monarch said.
Adding her voice, Kanu’s mother, Ugoeze, specifically appealed to Buhari to release her son, who she had not seen for over seven months, so he could get medical attention following reports of his deteriorating health.
Meanwhile, Eze Kanu hailed IPOB for the sit- at- home directive to its members to press home their demand for the release of Nnamdi, saying that “an aggrieved person has the right to express his grievances”.
He expressed support for the order, noting that it was better than street protest which often led to the loss of more lives.
The octogenarian who strongly contended that people had the inalienable right to express their feelings about how they are governed, called on the international community to prevail on Nigerian government to release his son and other detained Biafran activists.
Eze Kanu said there was nothing wrong with Nigeria conducting plebiscite to determine if the agitation for Biafra is popular or not.
He however, accused the Igbo political class of docility over the ordeals of his son and the Biafran project, saying that they rather preferred to remain taciturn because of their political interests.
The monarch said the political elite should not leave the struggles for the ordinary people or be afraid to speak out for fear of victimisation, arguing that if Biafra is eventually actualised, it is the political class that will be jostling for power.
” When we get the freedom now it is the politicians that will begin to jostle for positions. My son is not interested in power, he only wants freedom for Biafrans. He is ready to die after getting Biafra. So, others should support him”.
Partial compliance in Umuahia
Meanwhile, there was partial compliance of the sit- at – home order in Umuahia.
Findings by our correspondent revealed that some private schools in Umuahia closed down apparently for fear of the unknown.
One of the popular private schools in town was said to have issued a circular on Thursday directing pupils not to turn up on Friday.
Similarly, it was observed that the usual crowd in the banks was absent our correspondent visited some of the banking halls to monitor the situation.
Although the bank officials were not willing to respond to inquiries by our correspondent, the low turn out of customers might not be unconnected with the sit- at- home order.
There was also a substantial reduction in traffic flow in some major roads in Umuahia apparently because of the order as much passengers were not on the street.
However, business activities were in full swing at Ohiyya Mechanic Village when our correspondent visited the market to monitor compliance level.
The Chairman of the market union, Hon. Victor Elewor, in an interview, said the market was so large and comprised of people with divergent political views, hence, the executive lacked the powers to compel anyone to obey the order .
Elewor said individuals had the right to make their choice on whether or not they would comply with the order.
He however, supported the clamour for referendum to determine whether or not those agitating for Biafra have the support of the people.
Meanwhile, there was no procession or street protest in any part of Umuahia, and no clash with security agencies was reported.
Businesses paralyzed in Onitsha
Despite calls and assurance of protection from the Nigeria Police, residents of the commercial city of Onitsha obeyed the order of sit at home issued by IPOB yesterday as all markets, schools and banks in the city were closed completely for business .
As part of its measures to further protest against continued detention of their leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu by Nigeria government IPOB last issued an order mandating the people of the southeast to sit at him yesterday 23rd September 2006.
Residents of Onitsha complied fully with the order as traders shut all their markets. Both the popular Onitsha main market and other markets in and around the city like the Bridge Head, Ochanja, Ose Okwodu, Ogbaru, Main Market, New Parts Nkpo and the rest of them were completely closed for business.
Other institutions and social economic sanctuaries like the schools, banks, street traders did not also open for business. Commercial and private motorists, okada riders and Keke NAPEP operators also deserted the roads making the city to look like a no man’s land.
Major roads in Onitsha like Awka road, Oguta road, New and old cemetery roads, New Market road Old market road were all empty paving way for children to have a field day having fun playing street football.
A market leader in Onitsha who didn’t want his name in print said that people may have decided to sacrifice whatever profit they would have made in the day to close their shops and offices to allow peace to rein.
According to him “people have to stay at home to avoid being victims of security measures or what they do not know about. In some cases security agents may make mistake to shoot and arrest people who do not even know anything what is happening”
Our correspondent gathered that residents decided to stay at home to avoid falling victims of a possible clash between Biafra protesters and security agents who started patrolling round the city few days ago.
Low Compliance in Ebonyi
Though, the sit-down-at home declaration by the Indigenous People of
Biafra (IPOB), Friday witnessed relative low compliance in Ebonyi
state, there was heavy presence of security men stationed at
strategic locations and markets .
Ebonyi State Police Command tightened security within Abakaliki
metropolis and its environs following the planned sit-at-home order
which it scheduled to hold in over 100 countries across the world.
The IPOB said the events, among others were meant to draw the
attention of the international community to the Federal Government’s
continued detention of the group’s leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP George Okafor noted that he
went to all the major markets in the state with his photographer to
ensure that traders go about their normal businesses without
molestation or apprehension.
He disclosed that all shops were opened for economic activities but
they would continue to patrol all around major markets in the state to
ensure that the outlawed agitators did not cause mayhem on innocent
“I am at the Abakpa main market now with my camera man who is taking
pictures of the shops. I want to tell you that economic activities
were at its best. There is no sign of protest. Everywhere is calm and
“We will continue to mount surveillance in all the major
markets to ensure that there’s orderliness everywhere. We are not
loosing anything by chance. No such gathering or protest no matter how
secretive they are carried out would manifest in Ebonyi”, the PPRO
However, Okafor warned members of groups to steer clear from the state
as the command would be ruthless on any person or group that cause
breach of public peace in the state.
He therefore called on the people to go about their normal businesses
but appealed that any suspicious movement should be promptly reported
to the police to ensure the protection of lives and property in the