Empty streets, deserted roads, closed shops and business premises characterised the observance of the 2021 Biafra Day in Umuahia, the capital city and Aba, the commercial nerve centre of Abia State on Monday.
Residents of the two major Abia cities fully complied with the sit-at-home order issued by the leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to commemorate the annual Biafra Day.
The observance, according to IPOB, is in reverence to the memories of the fallen heroes of Biafra in the 30- month civil war and those that have been killed by Nigeria’s security forces in the ongoing crackdown on separatist agitators.
With the situation already tensed up in the run up to the Biafra Day celebration people just decided to remain at home to avoid any risk. The city centre of Umuahia was devoid of its usual bustling commercial activities as people remained in their homes.
Commercial transporters further created the eerie condition on the roads and streets as they withdrew their vehicles. Not even private vehicles were noticed on the roads and streets. Though there was no official sanction of Biafra Day observance in the South East, government institutions were also affected by the sit-at-home directive as schools and government offices were grounded. Banks and other corporate businesses equally shut their gates.
As at the time of filing this report there was no presence of the police and other security agencies patrolling the streets and roads of the Abia capital city.
It was also noticed that the separatist agitators comported themselves peacefully while marking the Biafra Day. There was no street parade which usually attracted heavy response from security agencies as on previous occasions.
The leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu had while giving directives on the observance of this year’s Biafra Day strictly warned against any street protest, saying that people should stay indoors and mourn the fallen heroes of Biafra.