From Okey Sampson, Umuahia, Ogbonnaya Ndukwe, Aba David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi and Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
Major streets in Abia State were deserted, yesterday, as scared residents stayed at home despite the suspension of the weekly sit-at-home order earlier announced by the leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Though there was confusion on claims that the secessionist group had called off the order, many of those that did not go out to do business yesterday, said they were scared and afraid of being attacked by the group’s supporters.
Public and privately-owned organisations, markets and financial houses in the commercial areas of the town were under lock, while their operators stayed at home.
IPOB had some weeks back announced a weekly sit-at-home order that will be in place every Monday until their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, was released from detention.
However, last week, the leadership of the pro-Biafra group, in what appeared a policy somersault, announced the suspension of the order, citing the ongoing nationwide NECO Examinations and other things as reasons.
Regardless, residents of Umuahia and Aba observed the sit-at-home order.
Our Correspondents, who visited some parts of the town, reported that a few tricycles and motorcycles operator who ventured out, especially in the Ohanku/Ndiegoro areas off Ngwa Road, were stopped and cautioned by black uniformed young men to comply with the sit at home order.
Even local community markets failed to open, while youths and middle aged men loitered around local drinking bars as they gathered to discuss family and other issues of interests.
In Umuahia, the observance was partial as shops at Isi Gate and some other places opened for business.
There were human and vehicular movements as people moved about their normal businesses, although some stayed at home out of the fear of the unknown.
Nonetheless, banks and schools were close as customers and students stayed away, ostensibly over fear of being attacked by hoodlums.
Government offices were opened in obedience to the directive of the state government warning workers against staying away from work. Although only skeletal services were provided in such offices.
However, the story was different in Aba, the commercial hub of the state.
There were reports that hoodlums despite the suspension of the sit-at-home order, came out in their numbers to enforce it.
People who left their homes early for the day’s business, were reportedly harassed and molested by hoodlums who smashed their car windscreen and turned them back home.
At the No. 1 Ngwa Road by Port Harcourt Road, some hoodlums reportedly set burn fire and barricaded the area.
A combined team of soldiers and policemen were said to have arrived on time to disperse the hoodlums.
Although gates of markets in the city were opened, but there were no customers as people stayed away from the markets. Traders who went to market earlier, had to go home as there were no customers.
Banks and schools remained closed, as bus drivers and tricycle operators provided skeletal services.
Many government workers in Aba did not go to work as a result of the activities of the hoodlums.
Unconfirmed report has it that one of the hoodlums harassing and molesting people in the guise of enforcing the non existent sit-at-home order, was shot dead on Port Harcourt Road by security operatives.
A military patrol van was later spotted moving around Nnewi streets though no one was molested.
Meanwhile, Ebonyi state Governor, Dave Umahi, has amented that the robust economy of the South East region has been threatened by activities of persons he said were acting the scripts of the enemies of the zone.
He described them as selfish individuals who were hell-bent on destroying the economy of the zone using sit-at-home.
He spoke following the closure of shops, markets, banks in the state. Many shops were not opened for business with banks shut as people were afraid of being attacked by hoodlums.
Also, several workers did not go work in spite of the governor’s warning that any worker who was not at work because of the of sit-at-home would face automatic dissimisal.
He spoke in Enyigba, Abakaliki local government area of the state during the recovery of bodies of the state APC Youth Leader, Ogochukwu Elem and his two Police escorts from a mining pit in the area where their vehicle plunged into on Saturday.
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