One person has been confirmed dead in Ebonyi state while trying to enforce the sit-at-home directive of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
This is even as the directive has grounded commercial activities in the states across the south-east, with major roads deserted and public places including schools under lock.
Owing to the fear of possible attacks, most residents remained indoors after stocking up their homes ahead of the plans to close businesses in the states.
The secessionist group led by Nnamdi Kanu had directed residents in the south-east to stay at home on May 31 for its annual Biafra remembrance day.
Kanu had said in a statement that the action was aimed at remembering the Igbos killed during the civil war from 1967 to 1970.
In Ebonyi, the police confirmed that an unidentified IPOB supporter was shot dead in Abakiliki, the state capital, while trying to get people to comply with the order.
Loveth Odah, the state police command spokesperson, also said that members of the group were intercepting motorcycles and harassing those seen outside their homes.
“People were going about their legitimate businesses and activities in the area but the hoodlums were distracting and forcing them to obey the IPOB’s sit-at-home directive. One of the hoodlums lost his life when they opened fire on our men,” she said.
Across the state, as is the case in other locations in the south-east, many public places including markets, banks, and schools remained shut.
Popular markets including Asa Nnentu spare parts, Ekeoha and Ariaria international markets were deserted in Abia, likewise the usually busy Enugu-Owerri road.
Ibewuchi Ndimele, a community leader in Aba south LGA, told NAN that there was no going back on the people’s resolve to obey the sit-at-home order.
He said the order was a welcome development because it was in honour of South-Easterners “murdered for asking for their rights.”
The situation is the same in Imo state, where major roads such as the ever-busy Ikonso road and Owerri-Okigwe roads were with almost zero traffic.
Economic activities were also halted many towns across the states including in Enugu where shops, malls and restaurants were closed in the capital city.
Johnson Nnam, a resident, told NAN that there was nothing wrong in the Igbos putting aside the days to remember their departed brothers and sisters during the war.
“We lost millions of people during the war, there is no family then in the East, that did not lose one, two or more persons,” he said.
“As humans, we owe it a duty to always remember part of us that have transited in glory.”
Nnamdi Offor, a transporter, also said the sit-at-home had afforded him the opportunity to know and interact with his neighbours more.
In Abakpa Nike in Enugu east, there were no activities except in few areas where children were seen playing football on the deserted streets.
It was the same situation in Nsukka, where many residents did not go far from their houses.
Frederick Nnanna, a student of the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), said the exercise afforded him the opportunity to appreciate what happened during the civil war.
“I am 21 years old and I don’t know much about the Nigeria civil war because we did not do history in secondary school,” he said.
“I thank those who initiated the event and I hope it would be done subsequently.”