Workers in the South east on Monday, shunned government directive that they must report for work against the sit at home order of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Major towns, markets and streets were deserted despite security agencies urging people to go about their normal business.
IPOB had announced a sit-at-home to protest the arrest and detention of its leader Nnamdi Kanu.
It said the 6 am to 6 pm “stay-at-home” would be observed every Monday “until Kanu is freed”.
It began yesterday, leaving death and destruction in its wake.
Security agents had a busy day; they clashed in some places with suspected IPOB members who were enforcing the call.
No fewer than 14 persons were feared killed while hoodlums attacked commercial vehicles and residents.
The police could not confirm some of the reported killings.
Kanu is facing charges of terrorism, treasonable felony, management of an unlawful society and illegal possession of firearms.
His trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja will resume on October 21 before Justice Binta Nyako.
He remains in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Killings, violence rock Southeast
There were gunshots in the early hours of yesterday at Nkwogwu in Aboh Mbaise LGA of Imo State.
Two buses conveying passengers from Umuahia to Owerri were intercepted by gunmen and set ablaze.
Two persons could not escape; they were burnt. Two drivers were shot dead.
There were shootings at Isiala-Amadim village in Amaifeke, Orlu LGA, where gunmen chased a man in his car into the home of a widow.
In Anambra, two naval officers were feared killed following a clash with suspected IPOB members.
The incident occurred at Awkuzu in Oyi LGA.
Gunshots were still being fired in the area as of 5 pm yesterday.
Eyewitnesses said the gunmen in five different vehicles stormed where the security operatives were stationed and opened fire on them.
Police spokesman, Ikenga Tochukwu, said an investigation was ongoing.
Two suspected IPOB enforcers were feared killed on Ugwuorie/Nnewi road in Ozubulu, Ekwusigo LGA in Anambra.
The two were said to have been shot dead by a military patrol team approaching the spot where a roadblock was mounted.
Two other residents were feared killed in Nnewi when three buses were set ablaze in the industrial city.
The casualties were recorded during a confrontation at the Izuchukwu junction.
An eyewitness said one of the deceased was the leader of IPOB’s security arm, the Eastern Security Network (ESN); the other was a commercial motorcyclist.
The eyewitness said: “It was about 7 am when some IPOB members came out to enforce the sit-at-home order and in the process blocked the major roads in the town.
“Some soldiers stormed the area to clear the way, which led to an altercation between them and the IPOB members.”
A resident said two bodies were seen on the road.
Also yesterday, gunmen attacked the Nnewi Police Area Command, carting away some arms.
The hoodlums engaged policemen in a gun duel having stormed the area at noon in seven vehicles.
The exchange of gunfire lasted for about an hour, according to eyewitnesses.
It was learnt that the gunmen overpowered the policemen and carted arms away. No life was lost.
“A security reinforcement arrived at the scene shortly after the gunmen had left,” an eyewitness said.
In Ebonyi, a woman was shot at the Aguogboriga axis by suspected robbers.
The victim was shot in the eye after being dispossessed of her belongings.
There were unconfirmed reports that three persons were killed in Obiozara in Ohaoazara LGA.
The police could not be reached for comments.
Most residents in the Southeast complied with the sit-at-home directive for fear of being harmed.
In Enugu, most residents wanted to go to work or open their shops but there were no vehicles to convey them.
Some who came out quickly returned as news filtered that hoodlums were having a field day.
Some were left stranded at various bus stops as commercial bus drivers and tricycle operators withdrew their services.
Traders, workers and pupils, especially those who were to write General Mathematics and Woodwork in the National Examination Council (NECO) Senior School Certificate Examination as well as travellers were the most affected.
At Ogbete, Mayor and Gariki markets, some traders were afraid to open their shops.
Some policemen were urging them to open their shops, but the traders were not convinced.
In Ebonyi, eateries, telecommunications companies and shopping malls in Abakaliki, the state capital, did not open. Banks on Ogoja and Afikpo roads did not open.
The International Market in the capital city was deserted. Filling stations were shut. The popular mechanic village was deserted.
Even their Lordships and lawyers stayed away from the courts. Lecturers at the state university were absent.
In Owerri, the Imo State capital, shops and markets were closed; roads were deserted.
Youths turned the Douglas Road, School Road and Oguamala Street to temporary football pitches.
Some sections of the popular Ekeokwu Owerri market were closed; the mechanic village and banks were shut.
Some candidates for the NECO examination wore mufti to their centres.
Hawkers and food vendors complained of low patronage.
In Onitsha, commercial activities were grounded. Schools, public institutions, markets and street shops were under lock.
Banks were closed; major roads and streets were deserted, including the ever-busy Niger Bridge, Onitsha/Enugu expressway, Upper Iweke and Ziks roundabout.
Masked hoodlums with assorted weapons beat up those who opened shops and destroyed their wares. In some places, security agents were nowhere in sight.
In Abia, business owners in Aba, the commercial centre, stayed away.
Employees of federal, state and local government establishments, banks and other financial institutions stayed away. Gates were locked.
Transport companies withdrew their services.
Major markets in Aba, such as Ariaria International Market, Ahia Ohuru, School Road Spare Parts market and St. Michael’s road mobile phone cluster were devoid of their usual hustle and bustle.
The ever-busy Aba-Owerri Expressway was empty.
In Oyigbo LGA of Rivers State, the mostly Igbo residents complied with the sit-at-home.
The area was deserted with a majority of the shops under lock; those who were seen at their business places had no customers to attend to.
A vulcaniser told our reporter: “We shut down because Federal Government is holding our leader.
“They should release him unconditionally and there will be no need for shutting down our businesses.
“We will soon shut down entire Nigeria. They are yet to realise it.”
A trader, Felicia Ude, said she opened her plastics shop because she needed to feed her family, but lamented poor patronage as the area was deserted.
On social media, the sit-at-home trended. A user wrote: “When you have to turn to violence and murder, you are not legitimate. IPOB does not represent Ndigbo.”
IPOB: it was a huge success
IPOB hailed its members and “friends of Biafra and lovers of Biafra’s freedom” for the “huge” success recorded in the sit-at-home.
It also thanked its security outfit and volunteer members who made the exercise successful, saying the total compliance was a warning to its oppressors.
IPOB, in a statement by its spokesman, Emma Powerful, said the development demonstrated the unity among Ndigbo and their readiness to restore Biafra.
“Now they understand how prepared we are in our irrevocable resolve to restore Biafran sovereignty,” he said
Nigeria Triumph In Dubai Spelling Bee Challenge Despite Sponsorship Woes
Nigeria colours is currently flying high in far away United Arab Emirate, where her team came 1st in the senior category of an intercontinental Spelling Bee competition final held at the weekend.
Nigeria team featured in 2 categories of the 2021 Intercontinental Spelling Bee competition final held on Friday 24th September at the Best Western plus Hotel Deira Creek Dubai.
The team came 1st in the senior category courtesy Oni Inioluwa Daniel of the Ambassadors College, Ota and Nigeria also came 3rd with Olujobi Oluwadarasimi Opeyemi also of Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun State.
In the junior category Pearl Koshi Etika-Matthews Eni Memorial High School, Calabar, Cross Rivers State came 2nd, whilst Nanret Adamu from St. Augustine College, DU, Jos, Plateau State emerged the most promising Speller in the Senior category.
The Nigerian Consulate in Dubai was ably represented by Consul Prince Wale Awolesi, who donated $500 of his personal funds to the over $4,000 left to settle their bill.
Akin Olu-Philips the executive director Of Peat Philips Foundation, led the team to a successful outing in Dubai.
Female Journalist Laments EFCC Night Invasion Of Her Bedroom, Kitchen
A woman journalist, Mrs. Norah Okafor, has alerted authorities to the invasion of her home in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, by over 25 masked operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The incident, she said, took place on Thursday between 1:36 a.m and 2 a.m.
“At exactly 1:36 a.m, I was alerted by my brother that there were armed robbers at my gate trying to make their way into the compound. Because it was an electric fence, I didn’t bother enough because I felt they could not make their way in. Alas, I was wrong. At 2 a.m prompt, they entered the compound, and they came prepared. There were over 25 of them in two Hilux buses. They were masked and dressed in all-black attire.
A huge member of the team climbed the fence with a pair of pliers and immediately cut off parts of the wires. He jumped into the compound and, with an axe, broke the gate key open to enable the team enter my apartment.
“As a nude sleeper, while they tried to make their way into the compound, I found something to wear while my brothers and I were thinking of a way of escape. The worst case scenario for me was that they would rape or take the only valuable available (a car key).
So, I prepared my mind. The next thing I realised was that about seven of them were in my room with shouts of ‘Lie down, face down; (switch) on the light. Where’s your phone? Where’s your car key?’ They asked for so many things and I became confused. Seeing over 25 hefty men with different kinds of guns, mhen, e don be, be that (It had finally happened, I presumed).
“I handed the phone over to them with the key. Before then, they had taken my laptop. I turned to be sure if they were armed robbers.
They asked for my passwords to all the devices collected with masking tape to identify each. Still in shock, I heard someone destroying everything in the kitchen, my room, that of my brothers and all the drawers. I was still asking myself: what’s happening?
“They asked me to stand and follow them downstairs. Lo and beyond, they unmasked themselves. Hmmmm! Are these criminals? I asked. All my neighbours were already going through the same pain as I was.
They had given my brothers the beating of their lives, carried my neighbour downstairs and tried unlocking all the cars in the compound. And after searching all the phones and laptops, three of them walked in. Behold, they were from EFCC.
“What?” I screamed.
“Shut up” was the next thing I heard.
“When they couldn’t open my phone, they asked me to, and I did. After a while, I asked them: ‘Please, where is your office so I can come and pick up my things on my way to work?’ They asked me what I do and I said I’m a journalist. They asked my neighbour and he said ‘lawyer’; the other one a ‘doctor’.
“They looked at me, handed over the phones and said: ‘We just wasted our time.’
“Those fools spent over one hour molesting and destroying things in this compound. I feel so pained and embarrassed right now. “Is this how EFCC operates? How did we get here? Who is the informant? I am just confused right now. Thank God, my mum isn’t here…”
Yoruba Nation, Biafra Agitators, Two Others Protest As Buhari Addresses UN Assembly Today
While two of the groups are protesting against the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), the third group will demonstrate in support of the ex-military leader.
One of the groups comprising Yoruba Nation and Biafra agitators, Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination, is headed by Prof Banji Akintoye.
Also, activists under the aegis of TakeItBack movement have mobilised for a protest at UN headquarters in New York with demands.
PUNCH gathered that the last group would be holding a pro-Buhari protest tagged, ‘One Nigeria March.’
Akintoye explained that NINAS’ protest tagged, ‘Million-Man Freedom March,’ was to show the world “the crimes against humanity, attacks on press freedom, free speech and other criminalities being aided by the Buhari-led government of Nigeria.”
He also said the agitators “are demanding the conduct of a regional referendum so that the indigenous people can decide on their nationhood”.
The renowned historian accused the Federal Government of sponsoring the counter-protest at UN headquarters, alleging that black foreigners living in the United States of America were “hired at $500 per head.”
Akintoye, in a statement on Thursday by NINAS Director of Public Communications, Mr Maxwell Adeleye, said, “Irrespective of the material and financial superiorities of these Lions, there’s no way they can defeat United Foxes in a democracy.
“The Friday Grand March in New York shall be historic; hence, the Nigerian government is jittery. The ring leader of government officials and a top Lagos journalist are now in New York to start hiring black people who will pretend as Nigerians to stage a pro-Buhari and One Nigeria protest to counter NINAS.
“But we refuse to be rattled. We shall not be intimidated. No oppressor has ever triumphed against the collective will of the people. The people are the government and power belongs to the people. The people make the constitution.”
TakeitBack Movement’s Global Director of Mobilisation, Gbola Owoborode, listed four demands for the activists’ protest, among which were that the leader of Independent People of Biafra and Yoruba Nation activists, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Igboho, should be freed.
He said, “The regime should also free Sowore, unconditionally and drop all charges, of which he has been falsely accused.
“We demand the immediate release of all political prisoners, including Nnamdi Kanu, Igboho and the over 300 #endSARS activists still under illegal detention, as well as an end to terrorism, kidnappings. and banditry that has completely ravaged the entire country.
“The resignation of the Buhari regime that is incompetent, lawless, despotic, nepotistic and corrupt.
It has failed to guarantee the security and welfare of Nigerians which is their primary responsibility as a government. The Buhari Junta must go!”
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