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Businesses resume in Imo State as Abia, Anambra residents observe IPOB’s sit-at-home order

By Charles Ogugbuaja (Owerri), Gordi Udeajah (Umuahia) and Uzoma Nzeagwu (Awka)
21 September 2021   |   3:04 am
Imo residents, yesterday, resumed business and other activities in observance of the suspension of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra’s (IPOB) sit-at-home order.

Imo residents, yesterday, resumed business and other activities in observance of the suspension of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra’s (IPOB) sit-at-home order.

[FILES] An empty street and locked shops in Onitsha during a sit-at-home order by IPOB…recently

This was contrary to what was obtained before the order was suspended, like markets, businesses, shops, traders, motorists and others went about their businesses in Owerri and its environs as early as 6:00 a.m. Students also attended school.

IPOB had declared sit-at-home every Monday pending the release of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu and on days he was arraigned in court.

During the sit-at-home period, gunmen chased away secondary school students, who were writing their West African Examination Council (WAEC) English Language paper at Nkume Secondary School, Njaba Council, after invading the premises, shot sporadically and burnt motorcycles of some teachers.

They also killed an Anglican priest, who invited military personnel to guide students taking their examination and set his vehicle ablaze, an action that generated reactions from members of the public, as analysts estimated the loss of the sit-at-home order at N10 billion each Monday.

But in Abia State, residents partially observed the sit-at-home, as schools, markets, shops, commercial activities and transportation were grounded in Umuahia, Aba and other cities.

A lawyer told The Guardian that he could not go to Umuahia from Aba to file a court process due to non-availability of transport, while children, who could not go to school, resorted to playing football on the streets of Aba.

However, there were skeletal activities at the High Court, banks and petrol stations in Umuahia, just as a shop owner on Aba road said although he opened for business, he did so cautiously due to fear of attack.

Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the State Command, Geoffrey Ogbonna, said operatives foiled a robbery incident along the Akara-Ohafia road in Abriba yesterday morning.

MEANWHILE, the situation assumed a worrisome dimension as Anambra residents stayed at home in spite of Governor Willie Obiano’s directive to resume full activities.

They shunned their businesses and other activities for fear of being attacked and their wares looted by hoodlums, as a few filling stations opened in Awka, the state capital.

At the Eke Awka Market, there were skeletal business activities, as traders and customers sold and bought on the adjoining streets to Eke Awka.

Also, there was low vehicular movement, as some transport companies did not operate. There were no inter-state buses on the expressways, the Onitsha-Awka expressway, a situation that resulted in people trekking long distances in Awka.

The few banks that opened for business closed their gates and only offered internal banking business, but few customers called for transactions, while others operated their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) services.