Sit-at-home hurting South-East, Umahi, Obi lament, violence in Anambra, Enugu

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Edward Nnachi, Tony Okafor, Raphael Ede and Chidiebube Okeoma

Published 15 September 2021

THE Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, and the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019 general election, Mr Peter Obi, have lamented the eruption of violence in some parts of the South-East zone occasioned by the sit-at-home declared and suspended by the Indigenous People of Biafra.

They stated that the sit-at-home order was unfavourable to the development of the region.

A 14-seater bus was on Tuesday set ablaze in the sit-at-home protest in Anambra State, while the whereabouts of the passengers remain unknown.

This happened after Monday’s attack on students taking the West African School Certificate Examination in Imo State.

Reacting to the crisis in the South-East, Governor Umahi had on Tuesday, expressed dismay over the continued sit-at-home order.

Umahi, who called on the Christian Association of Nigeria to intervene in the development, stressed that the region was losing economically more than others as a result of the situation.

The governor stated this during the inauguration of the new executives of the CAN, South-East Zone, at the Christian Ecumenical Centre, Abakaliki.

“There is danger; there may be another group that will come up with another sit-at-home order. The Christian body should intervene. We are killing ourselves. You can stop the sit-at-home in the South-East. We will lose more than other states. We must take our fate in our own hands.”

Obi flays attack on school children, says IPOB must’ve been infiltrated

Also, the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019 general election, Mr Peter Obi, has condemned Monday’s attack on school children in Imo State and the burning of motorcycles belonging to their teachers.

Reacting to the incident, Obi described the action as “un-Igbo”, out of place and a misguided aggression.”

He said he did not believe any Igbo man would contemplate attacking innocent school children, more so those taking their WAEC exams to compete with the rest of West Africans over academic excellence.

He called for proper investigations to unravel those behind the attack.

Obi said, “Would investors come to the zone under the present condition? Would established businesses not think of leaving the South-East under such a condition? Would traders from neighbouring countries that flock Aba and Onitsha on Mondays not seek and stick with alternatives? Would some industries not think of relocating?”

14-seater bus set ablaze in Anambra

On the 14-seater bus set ablaze on Tuesday in Anambra State, it was gathered that the vehicle loaded in Awka, the state capital and travelling to Ekwulobia in the Aguata LGA when it was reportedly attacked and burnt by the enforcers of the sit-at-home order.

IPOB had declared the protest in commemoration of the invasion of the home of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu in Umuahia in 2017 by soldiers where no fewer than 28 of their members were allegedly killed.

According to a video that went viral, the bus, which was intercepted at Nanka in the Orumba North LGA of the state, was burnt beyond recognition.

 A speaker in the video said, “All the passengers in the bus were set ablaze while the driver managed to escape. It’s the handiwork of unknown gunmen who are enforcing the sit-at-home order.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Ikenga Tochukwu, who confirmed the incident to our correspondent, said it occurred around 9.30am.

Similarly, a tricycle operator, who was attacked in Awka on Tuesday on the Arthur Eze Avenue, was said to have received machete cuts on the hand and leg, and his tricycle dispossessed from him and set ablaze.

Another bus burnt, tricycles destroyed in Enugu

In Enugu, hoodlums masquerading as members of the IPOB on Tuesday set ablaze a bus supplying bread to customers at old Orie Emene for allegedly disobeying the sit-at-home order.

The incident, which was said to have occurred around 5:30am, also saw the destruction of some tricycles, whose drivers were accused of violating the order.

Our correspondent gathered that the driver of the bus supplying Chimex Bread was accosted at Orie Emene by the hoodlums and was asked to turn back, but he reportedly disobeyed the directive.

He (driver) was said to have ignored the warning and proceeded to supply his bread to customers before he was dragged out of the vehicle, the bread offloaded before the vehicle was set ablaze.

Shortly after, a detachment of a combined security operatives made up of police and soldiers stormed the Orie Emene axis and started shooting indiscriminately, arresting anybody on sight.

Meanwhile, after the security operatives had left, there were huge bonfires on major roads leading to Emene as tension mounted in the area.

Efforts to get the State Police Public Relations Officer, Daniel Ndukwe, for reaction to the incident were unsuccessful as he didn’t pick his calls, but later sent a message that he was going for a meeting.

Lull economic activities in Ebonyi

In Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, it was not usual beehive of economic activities on Tuesday as the sit-at-home order, again, caused a lull in business activities.

But human and vehicular movements were not prohibited as some keke operators and motorcyclists were seen taking passengers from one location to another.

It was observed that banks, major markets, filling stations and eateries were not opened for business in the state.

Court, banks, schools, markets closed in Imo

However, Owerri, the Imo State capital was deserted on Tuesday as residents of the city stayed indoors in compliance with the sit-at-home order declared by IPOB.

Our correspondent, who monitored situations around town, observed that banks, schools and markets were shut.

Also, the High Court complex in Owerri and Magistrate’s Court complex in the state capital were shut.

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