The leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu, has insisted that the sit-at-home order given by the group in the South-East to mark the Biafran Day must be obeyed or residents of the region will have themselves to blame.
Kanu had warned that anyone found outside in the South-East and the South-South zones of Nigeria on the days will be dealt with by the military wing of IPOB, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
Kanu had also mandated that on Monday, May 31, all commercial activities in the East must be put on hold to mark the day which falls on May 30.
The group holds a yearly sit-at-home protest to commemorate the killing of people from the South-East every 30th of May but had to move this year’s event to Monday to allow worshipers go to church on Sunday.
But the order has been receiving mixed feelings as some state governors and security agencies have called his bluff, urging the people to go about their businesses.
In some states like Anambra, Imo, Abia and Enugu, there have been reported cases of panic buying as residents stock up on necessary food items to avoid a situation where they would not have food at home if the situation gets out of hand.
Panic buying of food items by residents of Awka in Anambra State continued until late evening on Saturday as families sought to stock their homes over the IPOB order.
In Owerri, the Imo State capital, it was gathered that residents began observing the order as early as Saturday despite assurances of their safety by the government.
Economic activities in the capital city was also affected as shops, malls, hotels, supermarkets and schools have been closed since Friday, while roads are said to be deserted as motorists and pedestrians stayed off the streets.
Those who managed to step out were said to be stranded as many of them could not get vehicles to take them to their destinations.
However, in states like Ebonyi, Anambra, Delta and Rivers, the reverse is the case as the residents shunned the order and went about their businesses amidst increased security influx.
As at Saturday, Ripples Nigeria gathered that Abakaliki, the capital of Ebonyi, was calm as people went about their businesses, while motor parks, hotels, eateries and markets were opened for business.
In Anambra, soldiers are said to have taken over the popular Onitsha bridge and Upper Iweka area to prevent any breakdown of law and order, while in Delta and Rivers, the residents say they don’t know anything about the order and would not obey any as they are not part of Biafra.
The Rivers State Police Command on it’s part, has advised residents to ignore the sit-at-home order, warning that the command was “battle-ready to deal with any person or group of persons that want to break down law and order.”