Innocent Duru; Nwanosike Onu, Awka; Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba; Chris Njoku, Owerri; Bassey Anthony, Uyo; Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt; Damian Duruiheoma, Enugu, Sunny Nwankwo, Abia and Ogochukwu Anioke
Fears are rife in the Southeast and parts of the South-south region that the sit-at-home order issued by the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IOPB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, to celebrate the annual Biafra Remembrance Day may be marred by violence and bloody clashes.
The remembrance holds on May 30 every year, but this year’s celebration, which falls on a Sunday, has been rescheduled to Monday, May 31, apparently to show that the directive of the fugitive IPOB leader is obeyed.
But IPOB said the change in date was meant to avoid any conflict with Christian worshippers.
Nnamdi Kanu, in a video that went viral on social media, had warned that May 31 should be observed as sit-at-home across all Igbo speaking areas
He further warned that anybody who tried to tempt IPOB by going out on the said date would have himself or herself to blame.
The directive is causing palpable tension across the Southeast and parts of the South-south like Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom where IPOB has violently been announcing its presence.
IPOB is suspected to be responsible for violent attacks on security operatives, security posts, INEC offices and several other government establishments across the region and parts of the South-south.
A chieftain of a faction of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, expressed concern about the plan to shift the celebration to Monday, warning that the move could worsen the fragile economic situation in the region.
In Anambra State, residents say they are ready for the sit-at-home order.
As a result, traders, schools, transporters and artisans have engaged in panic buying of food items in the state.
Newspaper vendors, artisans and market women, told News Men that they would heed the directive because nobody would want to lose his or her life
A trader at Eke -Awka Market, Mrs Ebele Okafor, told us that life has no duplicate, while Ijeoma Okuani, who has a cosmetics shop at the popular Aroma, said she had stocked her house with food items despite the hard economic conditions in the country.
Also, a tricycle operator in the state, Uzoma Osuoha, who hails from Imo State, said he would not like to risk his life, adding that he had already given his wife money to buy things.
When our reporter visited Oye Market in Nibo, Awka South Local Government Area of the state, the crowd was unprecedented.
The banks in the state were not left out. One of the workers of a new generation bank, who pleaded anonymity, said a circular had come from their headquarters for them not to work.
According to the employee, “these IPOB people are not helping Ndigbo. Instead of protecting the lives of their people, they are killing them. Is that how they will rule?
The state’s police command says there’s no cause for alarm, as its duty is to protect the lives and property of the citizenry. Speaking with News Men in Awka, the command’s Public Relations’ Officer, Ikenga Tochukwu, said they don’t deal with speculation, adding that the days being mentioned were like any other day to the police
He said the command had prepared itself ahead of time to make sure that residents of the state were well secured, including their property.