ABA – The general strike otherwise known as ‘Saboteurs day,’ followed by the sit-at-home order issued by the leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, grounded commercial and economic activities in most regions in Biafraland where the exercise was strictly observed. The Biafra Times correspondent gathered that most markets and shops in the South-East regions, particularly in Anambra, Abia and Ebonyi States were under lock and keys in compliance to the sit-at-home directive.
According to our correspondent who made his way to one of the largest markets in West Africa, Ariaria international market, Aba, there was no sign of visible exchange of goods and services at the market on Friday, September 14, 2018. Looking head-on from its entrance, one could see without obstruction the rear end (exit) of the market which used to be the hub of commercial activities in the state on ordinary days with deluge of traders from different parts of the state and beyond.
Outside the states in Southeast, the directive was also largely complied with in Port Harcourt, Asaba and major parts of Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa states were mostly indigenes sympathetic to the Biafra cause lock up their wares in compliance to IPOBʼs directive. The shutdown of the states was in spite of the futile attempts by the South-East governors and massive police and military presence, who patrolled streets and even made some arrests while we received news of some gunshots at some residents in Anambra state.
Activities in Anambra was totally paralysed as all markets, banks and schools, including those in the rural areas were shut down and the roads were totally deserted. Many Anambra State civil servants residing within the state and Enugu could not make it to Awka as there were no vehicles to convey them.
At Onitsha, the economic hub of the state, activities were in total comatose as the popular Onitsha main market was a ghost of itself as there was neither traders, buyers nor commuters in sight when our correspondents plied the road. Also, the ever-busy Niger Bridge connecting the South-South region to other states in the Southeast was completely deserted, leaving behind a handful of security personnel in police and military uniforms who paraded some strategic areas to ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order.
The Onitsha-Nsugbe, Onitsha-Nkwelle Ezunaka roads were all deserted, calm and peaceful. The Onitsha-Owerri expressway, the Asaba-Onitsha and the Onitsha-Enugu expressways recorded an inconsequential number of human activity as vehicular traffic and human presence was scanty. The ever-busy and popular Upper Iweka road was completely deserted by people who do transact businesses there. Also, at Nnewi, the industrial capital of the State, saw no commercial vehicles, tricycles or motorcycles plying the roads as activities was totally paralysed in that area. The few that opened their small shops received no patronage so they quickly locked up.
In Imo state, some markets in Owerri, the state capital were locked up by their owners while some gathered in clusters, discussing about the development. Also, most primary and secondary schools in Owerri, Orlu, Amakohia and Uratta roads observed the sit-at-home exercise yesterday. In Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, residents, to a greater extent, complied with the sit-at-home order despite threats from the state government and security agencies to lock up and seize shops of traders who complied with the directive.
According to an impeccable source, the State governor, Engr. Dave Umahi, issued a warning which was transmitted by the Ebonyi state broadcasting service to the effect that any shop, market, filling station or plaza that failed to open for business on 14th September, would be totally closed down. It was further learnt that the governor deployed operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, NPF and the Joint Task Force, JTF, to parade round the town to fish out those who complied with the directive from IPOB.
However, apart from the non-existence of commercial activities at Abakpa main market, Abakaliki, most petrol stations in the state capital were in total shut down and few that managed to open received low patronage. Filling stations at Izhiangbo junction also closed to observe the general strike action. The popular Nkwo market in Nkalagu was also not left behind in the general strike compliance.
Similarly, activities on most shops and motor parks in Ebonyi state capital such as Peace Mass transit park, Isieke and Ochudo motor parks and the ever-busy Obodo Amusement park were in total shut down. 90 percent of Shops at Nkwo daily market, Amike Izhia and Eke Izhia in Ohaukwu Local Government Areas were under locks and keys.
There was also a recorded lull in commercial and economic activities in some parts of Enugu state, as activities and vehicular movements at the 9th mile/Udi road axis and most remote areas in the state such as Nsukka and Obollo-Afor were paralyzed by the exercise. The Enugu-Onitsha expressway was also abandoned by commuters.
In Enugu metropolis, shops such as the famous Albertina electronic and Vitafoam shops, some sections of Kenyatta and Mayor markets and other small shops at Coal Camp auto-mechanic spare part shops were locked while markets/roads which remained closed and deserted in rural areas included those at Ogige-Nsukka, Eke Ozzi and Eke Umuitodo in Amufie— all in Igboeze North Local Government Area; 9th Mile Daily Market in Udi Local Government; the Four Corner in Nkanu West and Orba International Market, in Udenu Local Government Areas among others. However, educational activities was reportedly halted in some parts of the state as security operatives were seen parading around the state metropolis on their Hilux vans.
The garden city of Port Harcourt, Rivers state witnessed total compliance as Biafra supporters observed the directive. IPOBʼs stronghold at Ikoku motor park market was deserted as Police and other security officials parade the area in groups. Commercial activities around Obigbo, Ikwerre road, Diobu and other parts of the city were in comatose as only few people were discussing in clusters while some were at beer parlors drinking.
Shops and businesses owned by Biafrans mostly from the Igbo-speaking areas in Bayelsa State were closed in compliance with the IPOB directive. The popular Swali market, shops at Igbogene gateway, mechanic and spare parts shops, all in the capital city of Yenagoa where Igbos who owned a chunk of the shops stayed away from their businesses.
In Asaba, the directive was also observed in Omeligboma, Abraka, Okwe, Osadennis way in the metropolis as shops in the areas were closed for the greater part of the day. Also, the Mechanic Village in Abak Road, Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital dominated was partially locked down as activities came to a slow motion in the state.
“Alas! The sit-at-home order by IPOB was largely complied with which in effect, had a far-reaching impact on the Nigerian state and the Biafra restoration project. If anything, it speaks volumes that the people of the Eastern region of Nigeria are more than determined to go and form their separate nation and are ready to pilot the affairs of a sovereign nationhood.
“Nevertheless, it stretched to the cognizance of IPOB leadership and its members to a concocted report on Friday published by Sahara Reporters in which they falsely but deliberately reported that ‘members of IPOB set trucks ablaze in the bid to enforce the sit-at-home order…’ At this point, it is pertinent to note that the aforesaid report is none other than a spurious account; a white lie engineered to taint the impeccable reputation of IPOB but regrettably, they failed woefully. Forthrightly, a declassified information has it that a truck incurred break failure, and on its high speed, fell and spilled diesel which ignited fire that razed other trucks parked by the roadside,” an IPOB official told our correspondent in Aba.
It should be recalled that about a month ago, IPOB declared September 14, 2018, a day of ‘general strike’ across cities in Biafraland (South-East and South-South regions), in a bid to remember and mourn the demise of Biafran youths, all of whom were mowed down a year ago in Isiama Afara-Ukwu Ibeku, Umuahia, by operatives of the Nigerian army with the help of Biafra saboteurs, in the guise of ‘Operation Python Dance,’ which culminated to the disappearance of the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, whose whereabouts is yet unknown.
Hence, in conformity with the order, it is clear that a good percentage of Biafrans gave a nod to the general strike by observing the sit-at-home exercise. Our correspondent also gathered that most banks were shut down in compliance with the strike.