Residents of Onitsha in Anambra State on Monday lamented the effect of the sit-at-home order imposed by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra in the South East.
Although IPOB had suspended the order, our correspondent who went round the major streets of Onitsha on Monday observed that schools, markets, banks, offices and motor parks were shut, while major roads were deserted.
School children were seen playing football on the streets as people gathered around their business premises without opening. Banks did not also open for business.
Some residents lamented the devastating effect of the exercise on their means of livelihood.
They called for its definitive stoppage as the yuletide season approached.
The Chairman, Ngbuka Obosi Market Association, Chief Osita Udeh, who spoke to our correspondent, said although IPOB had reversed the order, inadequate security, lack of awareness and fear of attack had made the people to continue to observe it.
Udeh said, “Onitsha is the commercial centre of Anambra and the continued closure of commercial activities every Monday is having a huge effect on the state. We are losing incomes running into hundreds of millions of naira which is not good enough.”
Also speaking, the women leader, Onitsha Main Market Association, Mrs Celine Chigbu, said, “This Monday sit-at-home is affecting income generation, Monday is a serious day for commercial activities because people come from outside the state. If government provides adequate security maybe people will have the confidence to come out.”
Another resident, Esther Udo, who works in Awka, said she could not access her workplace on Mondays as a result of absence of transportation.
However, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr Don Adinuba, said there was no sit-at-home as the government had told the people to go about their lawful businesses.
He said, “Activities are going on in Awka and other areas; the government has told the people to ignore the sit-at-home order but if the people of Onitsha decide to do otherwise, there is nothing the government can do. The government cannot force anybody to go to his business place.”
Also, the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, urged the people to ignore the sit-at-home order.
“If you have followed closely the trend of tackling security concern in the state, you will agree with me that the police and the security community are winning. Our presence has dominated the space and this id among the strategies that the police command is implementing to sustain the public peace and safety,” the PPRO added.
Efforts to get the spokesperson for IPOB, Emma Powerful, proved abortive as several calls to his phone line rang out. He did not respond to text messages sent to him.