Confusion yesterday trailed the proposed sit-at-home order at the instance of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
Contrary to an earlier statement by IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, that its sit-at-home directive to the people of South East and South-South states was sacrosanct, another statement by IPOB leader’s younger brother, Kanunta Kanu, said the planned sit-at-home order had been suspended due to the National Examinations Council, NECO, examination for junior secondary schools.
However, Abia, Enugu, Anambra, Imo state governments, and police commands in the southeast have asked residents to ignore the IPOB order and go about their legitimate businesses, with the police promising to provide security to resist the order.
Powerful said: “Today’s sit-at-home order is sacrosanct. The entire Biafra land will be locked down every Monday from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm beginning from tomorrow (today), August 9, 2021, until Nnamdi Kanu is released.
“We, the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB, led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, wish to remind all Biafrans and friends of Biafra that the Monday sit-at-home order is sacrosanct.
“The entire Biafra land will be locked down every Monday from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm beginning from tomorrow (today), August 9, 2021, until our leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who was abducted in Kenya, brought back to Nigeria and locked up in DSS dungeon in clear violation of international laws is freed.
“Consequently, there will be no movement throughout Biafra land on Mondays until our leader who is suffering for our freedom is released. This protest is peaceful but firm. Everybody is advised to stay indoors in total compliance.
“All markets, schools, motor parks, airports, and public places in Biafra land should shut down from morning to evening every Monday.
“We understand the economic implications of this measure but we are constrained to take it so that the world will know that our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, is not alone in the struggle for Biafra autonomy.
“We want his immediate release and our total freedom, and cannot hesitate to pay any sacrifice needed to achieve this, including locking down the entire Biafra land on Mondays.
“All residents and visitors in Biafra land are advised to comply with the order. Nobody should go out to avoid any clash or intimidation by the wicked Nigeria security agents.”
However, in a statement by the IPOB leader’s younger brother, Kanunta Kanu, IPOB explained that it arrived at the decision to suspend the order, after listening to pleas from well-meaning individuals and groups that the order is suspended to allow students in Igbo land to participate in the NECO examination.
“IPOB has listened to pleas from well-meaning individuals and groups within and outside Biafra land that we consider the fate of our children who will be involved in the NECO Exam and based on that, we decided to shift grounds over the sit-at-home order.
“IPOB, having realized the academic deprivation the already marginalized Biafra students who entered for this year’s NECO would suffer, decided to suspend the sit-at-home order to a later date, to allow the students take their examinations.
“Allowing the sit-at-home to go ahead as earlier announced, in the face of the NECO Exam, would amount to assisting enemies of Biafra to inflict more injuries on her children.
“As a group fighting for the liberation of its people from oppression from its enemies, we realized that it would amount to assisting the said enemies to inflict more harm on our children if we do not suspend the sit-at-home order to allow Biafra students to take their exams”.
The statement further explained that the sit-at-home order has not been canceled, but only suspended for the sake of Biafra students taking this year’s NECO examination and called on IPOB members to await further directives.
Ignore sit at home, go about your lawful duties—Ikpeazu
Also yesterday, Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, called on residents of the state to ignore the sit-a-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and go about their lawful duties, assuring that security agents were on red alert to arrest those who might want to breach the peace in the state.
Ikpeazu disclosed that the state government was in contact with Nnamdi Kanu’s family and was monitoring the situation to ensure that the IPOB leader got a fair trial.
The governor, however, warned that the Igbo must not be seen to be doing anything against the interest of the zone, stressing that students should be allowed to go to school, while people should go about their businesses.
He said: “Since this agitation started, the Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, which is the leading pan Igbo socio-cultural group, has expressed serious interest in making sure that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu gets a fair judgment and a powerful delegation led by Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife was sent there and they are monitoring the trials.
“Our government is also monitoring and in contact with Kanu’s family and other concerned institutions. What it means is that collectively, all of us are interested that Nnamdi Kanu will be given a fair trial and if the interest of IPOB represents the interest of the masses of this geo-political zone, it means we must not do anything that will seem as if we want to cut our nose to spite our face.
“What will be the logic behind asking our children not to go to school? On Monday, they will be writing Mathematics in the NECO examination which is national. What will be the logic behind asking our people not to go out to eke out a living? We are already crying that we are marginalized and also pressed hard by the consequences of COVID-19 and EndSARS protests. If our children and grandchildren become illiterates in the future, have we hurt our perceived enemies anywhere?
“Let me say this on record, if we have enemies anywhere, I believe there is a way to address them. If we have people that are waging war against us, and then our response is that we will not go to market and not to go to school, whatever they are doing to ensure that we behave in that way, they will do it. So this will be counter-productive against Mazi Nnamdi Kanu because withholding him can affect our economic base and make us illiterates. I think it is not the right thing to do. Therefore, I will urge everybody to go about their normal business.”
On Ebubeagu set up by the southeast Governors, Ikpeazu explained that the security outfit was designed to respond according to the peculiar circumstances of every state of the zone.
“Abia State Ebubeagu cannot reflect Ebonyi, Enugu, Anambra, or Imo Ebubeagu because our security challenges are not the same both in diagnosis and outlook. They are different. But we converge at a point where we want to share intelligence so that the identified criminals in those states are the same. We can deploy economics of scale so that we can procure pieces of equipment that can serve our geopolitical zone without having to replicate expenditure in all the states.
“The strategic response is to provide the various security units with intelligence. So, I will not because I want to please my spectators begin to dance naked in the market. The spectators include those who want my survival and those who don’t. Those who expected us to bring out fierce-looking people clad in lion skin and dance in the market square will not see such a thing. But we have mobilized them to work with modern equipment. They are highly mobile and we have worked out a communication channel to monitor every inch of our forests. We will continue to adjust until such a time we can say we are happy the deed has been done.
“If the essence of Ebubeagu is to ensure peace and tranquility and ensure the safety of lives and properties, then it is very effective in Abia because we have peace, tranquility and people are going about their businesses. Our Ebubeagu is working. If you want to see them, we will make them available for people to see but they will not dance naked in the market.”
Go about your business, Enugu govt carpets IPOB order
Similarly, the Enugu State government yesterday asked its residents to ignore the sit-at-home order issued by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and go about their businesses, stating that the IPOB order had no constituted power backing it.
Chairman of Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, ECTDA, Dr. Josef Onoh, said the agency’s attention was drawn to some apprehension in the capital city, suggesting that there will be no movement today and on subsequent Mondays.
The agency, however, noted that there was no constituted authority that declared any Monday a resting or work-free day and assured residents in the state capital that there will be no molestation of anybody conducting genuine business in the state, except such a person was a miscreant.
Onoh asked all business operators within the capital territory to ignore the propaganda of a sit-at-home order as the state government had put machinery in place to ensure that lives and properties were secured.
“This is familiar propaganda that had enthroned hardship on the citizenry and which wisdom is supposed to be prevailing upon rather than emotion. We, therefore, urge everyone to go about their legitimate businesses as all the security agencies in the state are on top of the situation.
“People sitting at the comfort of their luxuries outside and within Nigeria should not mislead other people eking out their own living in their own ways. We, in ECTDA, assure residents of peace and sanity in Enugu, and this administration will not have mercy on anybody that wants to foment trouble in the city.”
Onoh said the security apparatus in the state had exhibited maximum strength, even against the unknown gunmen which recently proved the integrity of the agencies in the state as well as that of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi in protecting lives and properties in the state.
Sit -at-home, lose August salary, Anambra warns workers
On its part, the Anambra State government yesterday, directed the workers to ensure that they are in their duty posts or be prepared to lose their August salary
The state Head Of Service, Mr. Harry Udu has already directed Commissioners and permanent secretaries to monitor the situation report accordingly.
A public announcement issued by the HOS on the matter read: “The government of Anambra State has directed that all workers in the state must attend to their duties on Monday, 9th August 2021 as failure to do so will result in severe sanctions, including loss of salary for the month of August.
“All Hon. Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries are to monitor and report compliance please. Kindly give this information the widest publicity in your establishments”.
IPOB has for the past one month been announcing that every Monday has been declared a no movement day until its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who is being detained by the Department of State Services, DSS, is released.
The announcement has injected fear on the people, with many saying they would obey the order so as not to be a victim of some overzealous youths.
We’ll back you with security to resist sit-at-home, Imo CP
Reacting to the development, the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro, said the Command would back the residents of Owerri and other parts of the state with security operatives in order to resist the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, from forcing them to sit-at-home.
Yaro disclosed this to newsmen in Owerri, while describing IPOB’s order as coming from “Illegitimate persons and entities.”
The IPOB’s order did not go down well with the Police. The Command’s statement read: “We enjoin all residents of Imo State to ignore any stay-at-home order from illegitimate persons and entities that parade the airwaves with innocuous fallacies and fantasies.
“We advise Imolites to come out today en masse and go about their lawful businesses, bearing in mind that Imo State economy is driven by individual contributions and it is from the various daily activities that you put food on your table.”
The Commissioner of Police then directed that any person(s) who come out today to enforce any illegal order that is not from a legitimate authority should be resisted by the good people of Imo State and they will be supported by security agencies.