Ebonyi, Enugu, Awka Residents Ignore IPOB’s Sit-at-home Order

  •  Aba, Onitsha, Nnewi residents comply
  • Catholic priest beaten to coma for violating order

Christopher Isiguzo , Gideon Arinze in Enugu; David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka and Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki

Residents of Awka, the Anambra State capital, as well as Enugu and Ebonyi states, yesterday shunned the order by the Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) for them to sit at home in honour of fallen Biafran patriots.

THISDAY observed that there was movement in Awka, both vehicular and human, just as public places were open for business.

However, the story was different in the commercial cities of Onitsha, and Aba, as well as the industrial town of Nnewi, as THISDAY gathered that the towns were totally shut down.

This is coming as a Catholic priest and Vicar of St Jude’s Catholic Church in Nnewi, Rev. Fr. Festus Eziamaka, who dared to drive out as early as before 6 a.m. to celebrate mass for his parishioners, was attacked, beaten to unconsciousness and his vehicle damaged by suspected members of IPOB.

In Awka, though it was gathered that some schools in the town did not open, most of the schools visited by THISDAY were in full session, with students and teachers engaging in academic activities.

Eke Awka market, one of the biggest markets in the town was also in session, even though the number of traders and customers in the market were limited compared to what it usually was.

Banks were also open, just as a visit to the state secretariat showed that work was in full session, with workers milling around the complex.

In Onitsha, it was gathered that no markets were open, just as the usually busy streets were a ghost of themselves.

The Onitsha Niger Bridge was also said to have been shut, to avoid exit or entry into the town.

In Nnewi, almost all the industries were closed from morning hours to noon, just as traffic on the roads remained scanty too.

Also in Nnewi, people suspected to be IPOB members attacked a Catholic Priest.

THISDAY gathered that the priest was attacked around Ibeto junction, while he was going to celebrate morning mass.

Though the Police Public Relations Officer of Anambra State Police Command, SP Haruna Mohammed who spoke to journalists on phone, said there was no incidence of violence anywhere in the state resulting from of the IPOB sit-at-home order, but a priest, Rev. Fr. Celestine Okonkwo, confirmed the incident.

He said, “Our priest, Fr. Festus Eziamaka, parish vicar of St. Jude’s Parish, Nnewi, presently residing at the Bishop House, from where he shuttles everyday to his duties for his parish, was attacked before 6a.m. today on his way to celebrate the first Mass of Ascension for his parish.

“He was attacked and shot by IPOB members who had declared no-movement today. They shot very close to his eyes and beat him up. His vehicle was badly damaged. Thank God, he was rushed to Teaching Hospital. The doctors immediately took him to the theatre.”

THISDAY also gathered that amidst heavy security presence, residents of Enugu, Enugu State literally ignored the sit-at-home order as they went about their lawful engagements.

Major streets, markets, commercial banks and ministries within the metropolis were full of activities as though there was nothing like a sit-at-home order..

The popular Ogbete Market was filled with activities as shops were opened unlike in time past when people obeyed such order and kept away from such places.

At the state Ministry of Transport, it was business- as –usual, as offices were opened with workers seen carrying out their day to day activities and security operatives at their duty posts.

There was also zero compliance to the order in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital as economic activities, movement of vehicles and individuals were hitch-free.

Academic, banking and transportation activities were not disrupted in the state.

Meanwhile, over 2,000 members of the Akubaraoha Youth Assembly led by the former Special Adviser on Youth Mobilisation to Governor David Umahi, Mr. Mark Onu, marched round the Abakaliki to ensure total clampdown on the Biafra agitators.

The youths also advised traders not to close their shops.

Though the movement created traffic logjams along the ever-busy Afikpo road, the directive of the outlawed secessionists was not noticed in the state.