Biafra anniversary: MASSOB, IPOB shut down Igboland; banks, markets, schools closed for business
In a rare symbolism to mark the 50th anniversary of Biafra, the Movement for Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra and the Indigenous People of Biafra turning the commercial cities in the zone to ghost towns.
MASSOB and IPOB have called out their members and persons in the Biafra geographical region including Delta, Rivers, Cross River and those in Southern Cameroon to honour a sit-at-home command which they said was to send a message to the Nigerian government that the spirit of Biafra cannot be wished away or swept under the carpet.
Our correspondents reported that in Owerri and Umuahia, commercial activities ebbed with markets closed. In Aba, major markets were closed for business. Banks, schools including tertiary schools, markets, corporate offices and some filling stations were also closed.
Security personnel were seen in most flashpoints and major roads and streets in what one of them said was to forestall any act of brigandage and riot. Long queues of customers trying to make withdrawals at ATMs were visible in all the cities.
In Owerri, the impact of the sit at home order was visible. Banks remained shut and streets were deserted. The usually busy Port Harcourt road was a ghost avenue as only a few vehicles were seen of the road.
At Ikenegbu area reputed for high concentration of major stores and supermarkets, there was no noticeable buzz of commerce.
“We have made a loud statement today. It is 50 years of Biafra and from what you can see, it is obvious that the spirit of Biafra is alive”, gushed Mr. Ibeabuchi Ogbonna, an IPOB member who claimed to be a grassroots mobiliser for the group.
The state Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, said that policemen were deployed in strategic and “black spots” across the state to checkmate lawlessness but he was quick to add that “so far no violent incident has been reported”.
Policemen and other security personnel were seen at major roundabouts in Owerri but there was no show of force as the only persons on the streets were commuters who were forced to trek over long distances for want of vehicles.