Nigeria: South-East - Sit-At-Home Continues, Despite Igbo Leaders' Pronouncement

Some Igbo leaders before now claimed that IPOB had declared an end to the sit-at-home order.

Residents in the South-east, as usual, shut their businesses and stayed indoors throughout Monday, in compliance with the IPOB's sit-at-home order.

The closed shops and the deserted roads showed that the efforts by some Igbo leaders to bring an end to the sit-at-home order yielded no result.

The Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council, on Saturday, announced that IPOB, the outlawed separatist group, had declared an end to the order.

Nnaemeka Achebe, the chairman of the council, said IPOB took the stance after Igbo leaders, including religious leaders, declared their intention to find a lasting solution to the insecurity and the incessant sit-at-home directives in the region.

Mr Achebe, who is the Igwe of Onitsha, had said after its meeting with the group, that IPOB placed a call to all its members to put down their arms and accept dialogue.

Many residents of the five states in the region, however, stayed indoors, while economic and social activities in the region became paralysed.

Major roads in Enugu State were deserted.

The shops at the popular Ogbete Main Market, Enugu, were closed when a PREMIUM TIMES reporter visited the market on Monday.

"I am at home. We didn't open today," said Maduka, a shop owner in the market.

Mr Maduka said he was not aware of any group declaring an end to the sit-at-home order in the region.

The situation was the same in Anambra State. Major markets were closed. Banks and other businesses did not open shops.

There were, however, minimal human and vehicular movements in the state.

Arinze Ajaezu, a businessman in Onitsha Main Market, said business activities were grounded in the state due to the sit-at-home order.

"Markets did not open today. I have been sleeping," he said.

Prayers to 'mark an end' to sit-at-home order

Prayers were held across Anambra State on Monday to mark the end of the sit-at-home order, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

There was no movement at all in Imo State. Filling stations, banks and other businesses were closed throughout Monday.

Imo and Abia states were on lockdown on Monday, residents said.

"Nobody is going out. Everywhere is dry. Even (the) markets did not open today," said a business owner in Aba, Abia State.

The situation was slightly different in Ebonyi State.

There were partial business activities on Monday at Margaret Umahi International Market, Abakaliki.

The market was open and a few traders showed up for business, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

Many residents in the South-east are still afraid of likely attacks by gunmen who enforce the sit-at-home order.

Billions of naira have been lost and the local economies disrupted by the sit-at-home order which IPOB conceived as a strategy to put pressure on the Nigerian government to release the group leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

Mr Kanu is standing trial for alleged treasonable felony and terrorism at Abuja.

IPOB is agitating for the creation of an independent state of Biafra from the South-east and some parts of the South-south.

The group has been linked to deadly attacks in the two regions.

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