Uncertainty yesterday enveloped the entire South East following the sit-at-home threat by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, today, with many making panic buying and traveling to their villages.
The Onitsha and Awka main markets witnessed large purchases, especially of food items, while petroleum sellers enjoyed unusual patronage as many people bought fuel in cans and filled their vehicles.
The police, on the other hand, exhibited a show of force in the entire zone by patrolling the various cities and blaring sirens that scared many people.
Despite the heavy presence of the police on the streets yesterday, IPOB leadership insisted there was no going back on the sit-at-home to protest the planned Operation Python Dance 3, the recent detention of some Igbo women in Imo State and the killing of many pro-Biafra agitators in various parts of the country.
There was tension in Onitsha as it was gathered that IPOB had mobilised its members to ensure strict observance of the threat. Some commercial banks yesterday hinted of the likelihood of closure of their branches as a safety measure.
A staffer of one of the banks said his manager had forwarded some of the leaflets being circulated by IPOB to its headquarters, adding that they were still waiting for a directive on whether to open today or not.
IPOB alleges betrayal by Ohanaeze, S-East govs
IPOB, yesterday, flayed South East governors, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Biafra Coalition for hosting and entertaining Prof. Ango Abdullahi in Owerri recently, saying their attempt to use coordinated scare tactics through media statements to intimidate the people of Biafra into disobeying IPOB sit-at-home is a well known trick that will fail woefully.
According to Comrade Emma Powerful, Media and Publicity Secretary for IPOB in a statement, "it is a sign of desperation that these men under whose stewardship shame and dishonor was brought to the people of the east are today working round the clock with our oppressors from the north to suppress an event meant to liberate everybody from bondage. We are aware of how a supposed pro-Biafra group in Owerri shamelessly offered itself as a front for Arewa Consultative Forum to penetrate and destroy Biafra agitation from within, all for the sake of yet more money.
IPOB remains illegal--Police
Describing IPOB as an illegal organisation, Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Garba Umar appealed to members of the public not to allow themselves to be intimidated or harassed into succumbing to the threat of the organisation.
"The security agencies are ready for any eventuality and we urge members of the public to go about their lawful businesses as they will be adequately protected. We are ready and we have all it takes to keep the peace," the CP said.
We're not against IPOB --MASSOB
Meanwhile, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, has disowned reports that it was against the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, in the observation of one year remembrance of the invasion of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu's house by the Nigeria Army.
Enugu State Coordinator of MASSOB, Comrade Dan Onyebuchi said that one imaginary Kenneth Okwudili who claimed to be speaking for MASSOB in Nsukka zone had alleged that MASSOB was against the anniversary, but Onyebuchi said the report was false and doubted the existence of the so called Kenneth Okwudili. "MASSOB authoritatively wishes to clarify that we do not have any Kenneth Okwudili in Nsukka as MASSOB zonal coordinator and that such person does not speak for MASSOB unless he belongs to another group which is not MASSOB.
"MASSOB under the leadership of Comrade Uchenna Madu is not against the one year remembrance of the invasion of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu's family house by the Nigeria military men. We view every programme or activities on Biafra as part of refreshing and revival of Biafra actualisation and restoration.
"However, MASSOB is more concerned and deeply involved in visitations, consultations and unifications of all all pro Biafra groups under one coalition and revival of the brotherhood consciousness among the numerous ethnic nationalities that make up the republic of Biafra," said Onyebuchi.
Ignore IPOB, BIM tells Ndigbo
In a related development, members of Chief Ralph Uwazuruike-led Biafra Independence Movement, BIM, yesterday, asked Ndigbo to ignore the sit-at-home ordered by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
The call came from Chief Benjamin Ekwenugo, a member of the BIM elders' council who spoke on behalf of Uwazuruike during the commemoration of the 19th anniversary of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, by the Enugu West Zone of the group.
He said: "IPOB is on its own. What will they achieve with all these their sit-at-home order? We are coming out tomorrow.
"I call on Ndigbo to ignore them and go about their businesses, unless someone that has nothing to do."
Chioma Gabriel, Vincent Ujumadu, Anayo Okoli, Dennis Agbo & Chinedu Adonu