LOCAL residents in Anambra State deserted their cities this morning in solidarity with a call by the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) despite the suspension of the secessionist group’s suspension of its every Monday sit-at-home protest.
Ipob has been campaigning for the recreation of the independent republic of Biafra which broke away from Nigeria between July 1967 and January 1970 during the civil war. Its leader Nnamdi Kanu, who has leading the secession calls, was recently abducted in Kenya and flown to Nigeria where he is currently facing treason charges.
To protest Mr Kanu’s arrest, Ipob has called a series of sit-at-home campaigns, which have been very effective across the southeast geo-political zone with widespread compliance. Another such campaign was due today but Ipob called it off, however, despite the suspension of the protest, it was still widely observed in Akwa the Anambra State capital and in the commercial nerve centre Onitsha.
In Awka, most shops remained closed as at 8am and according to local residents, the news of the suspension was not widely circulated. Theophilus Omaka, a trader at the Onitsha main market said that as at 8am this morning, there were only few traders who had come out.
Mr Omaka added: “The market opens at 7am every morning and usually, on a Monday, after a long weekend, traders itch to come to their shops, meaning that as early as 6am, most traders are already waiting for market officials to open their shops, so they can go to work. However, today, at 8am the markets were already open but only a few traders had arrived.
Another trader at Aroma, popularly known as Oga Boss, who traders in phone parts said: “I didn’t plan to go out today because of the sit-at-home. I’m just hearing it from you that it has been suspended.”
Two days ago, Ipob spokesman Emma Powerful had called off the sit-at-home order, saying that the exercise will henceforth hold only on days its leader, Kanu would appear in court. Mr Kanu has been arraigned before a federal high court in Abuja presided over by Justice Binta Nyako.