Tension in Anambra as Schools Send Pupils Home over Sit-at-home Order

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•Police warn IPOB, MASSOB against breach of peace in Anambra, Delta, Rivers

Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt, David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka and Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Residents of Anambra State are in confusion over the sit-at-home order by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as parents have started withdrawing their wards from school.

The IPOB had in a statement last week notified of the restriction of movement in Anambra and other South-east and South-south states deemed to be within Biafra territory over the continued detention of IPOB leader and the Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

 Markets in the state are also in confusion as to whether to comply with the directive or not, as their leaders have remained mum on whether the order should be adhered to or not.
THISDAY learnt that most schools have already issued notes to parents asking them to keep their children at home as a result of the IPOB order.
This is not withstanding the order by state police command to residents to ignore the sit-at-home order and go about their lawful duties.

THISDAY also learnt that most private schools in the state capital city of Awka had warned parents not to bring their children to school as their schools would not be open because of the order.
When THISDAY visited some schools in Akwa, it was learnt that parents who went to pick up their wards yesterday from schools, were handed notes of a school-free day today.

The headmaster of a public school in Anambra who spoke to THISDAY on condition of anonymity, said his school decided to stop its pupil from coming to school because the wellbeing of its pupil was paramount.
Meanwhile, the state police command and those Delta and Rivers State have warned members of the IPOB to desist from any act that would cause a breach of peace in the state today.

The police warned that any act that breaches peace in the state would be handled decisively by it.
In a statement signed by the command’s Public Relations Officer, Nkeiruka Nwode, the police called on residents of the state to ignore the order and go about their lawful duties.
“The command is using this medium to warn such elements to retrace their steps and desist from embarking on any act of criminality capable of causing breach of peace.

“We call on the people to go about their lawful duty as the police will ensure protection for all law-abiding people. Police are firmly and effectively on ground,” Nwode stated.
In Delta State, the police command yesterday warned members of the group to stay clear of the state in its planned protest slated for tomorrow.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Celestina Kalu, said in a statement that the command was ready to deal ruthlessly with any person or group that attempts to cause breach of the peace for whatever reason.
“Intelligence report reaching Delta State Police Command indicates that members of the outlawed IPOB plan to embark on a protest on Friday,  September 23, 2016.
“The command wishes to warn IPOB members to stay clear of Delta State as the state does not subscribe to such an agenda,” she warned.

Kalu disclosed that the state police command and its personnel have been fully briefed on the Strategy of Operation (SOP) and rules of engagement and have been deployed and briefed to deal ruthlessly with any person or group of persons who attempts to cause the breach of peace for whatever reason.

In the same vein, the state police command advised parents and guardians to warn their children or wards not to join any form of protest while law-abiding Deltans and other residents of the state were assured of their safety.

The police also advised residents to go about their legitimate business and expose suspicious movement of miscreants.
In Rivers State, the police warned that it would not tolerate anything that would jeopardise the peace in the state in the planned protest by IPOB and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).

Addressing journalists in Port Harcourt yesterday, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Francis Odesanya, said the command would not tolerate any plan to cause a breakdown of law and order.
Odesanya described the planned protest by IPOB and MASSOB as illegal and uncalled for, adding that the command would not allow anarchy to reign within its area of control.

His words: “Parents and guardians should better advise their wards to stay away from any act that could breach the peace in Rivers or go about their business in peace.
“The protest is illegal and uncalled for. We are not going to allow anybody to cause a breakdown of law and order here. The command will not tolerate any act anarchy anywhere in Rivers State.”

He, however, pointed out that the state police command was prepared to contain whatever would happen on Friday in form of a protest by IPOB, maintaining that the police in the state were on top of the situation.
Odesanya explained that the rule of engagement of the command would be in line with international best practice.
“The command is very much prepared for this (protest); we are on top of the situation. This is not the first time they have protested and I assure that we will raise the bar of security,” the CP added.