The old River Niger bridge that links Asaba, the Delta State Capital and Onitsha in Anambra State
By Kazie Uko
From Abia State to Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and to Imo State, social, political and commercial activities were ground to a halt in adherence to the sit-at-home order issued by the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
This year’s sit-at-home appears to be a huge success going by images and videos out of the South East states, including parts of some South-South states of Rivers and Delta.
Images of deserted roads, empty markets, motor parks and road-side shops and eateries were freely posted by residents from different locations across the Igbo regional states, to press home the extent of compliance to the order initially resisted by some of the state governments with threats of consequences.
A few of the people who spoke to on the outcome of the sit-at-home order credited government and security agencies with the huge success of the non-violent rebellion tagged, ‘Biafra Remembrance Day’. It is a day set aside by IPOB to reflect on the massacre of the Igbos and immortalise the memory of all those killed in the three-year old Nigerian-Biafran war on the Eastern Nigeria side.
One of our respondents, a medical doctor, who spoke anonymously, said not everybody was in agreement with the directive by IPOB, a non-state actor, but utterances by some state governors and the security agencies may have unwittingly encouraged people to stay away from the streets and market places.
READ: It’s injustice clamping down on IPOB and leaving AK-47 carrying Fulanis – Ortom
“Just imagine the earlier threat by the Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi, saying that people will lose their shops if they failed to open. There was no sense in that and there was no reason for the governor of a state to so threaten his people. Such comment further compounded the insecurity situation in the region,” the medical doctor told us.
On social media platforms, the sit-at-home was highly celebrated. The Twitter community was super active with tweets, pictures and videos of ghost cities, towns and villages. Archival images of war showing kwashiorkor-ravaged children with protruding pot bellies dotted various handles. Majority of the contributors marvelled at the total compliance of the stay-at-home order by Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB, despite the group being outlawed by the federal government of Nigeria.
“Stay at home, forfeit your shops – Umahi warns traders”. Mr Umahi: A trader has a right to CLOSE his shop for any reason. It’s this sort of your mentality that got NIGERIAN rulers to think that #SelfDetermination is a crime. #SitAtHome is not a crime, you hear?” tweeted aloy ejimakor @AloyEjimakor, with reference to Umahi’s threat.
Ayemojuba @ayemojuba tweeted: “One sign of growth in life is ability to transit from using your hands (manual labour) to your mouth (decision-making). What your president and governors can’t do with guns and bullets, Nnamdi Kanu spoke a word and it came to pass with no stress. That’s Leadership.” #SitAtHome
Yet in another tweet @ayemojuba said: “Nnamdi Kanu: I will tell my kids this is what Nelson Mandela looks like. #SitAtHome. The tweet was illustrated with pictures of Kanu wearing red beret.
Mr Uko is the Publisher of Reliablesourceng.com where he first published this news report. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org