There were killings in parts of the Southeast yesterday as residents were forced to stay at home following the call by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Major towns, markets and streets were deserted despite security agencies urging people to go about their normal business.
IPOB had announced a sit-at-home to protest the arrest and detention of its leader Nnamdi Kanu.
It said the 6 am to 6 pm “stay-at-home” would be observed every Monday “until Kanu is freed”.
It began yesterday, leaving death and destruction in its wake.
Security agents had a busy day; they clashed in some places with suspected IPOB members who were enforcing the call.
No fewer than 14 persons were feared killed while hoodlums attacked commercial vehicles and residents.
The police could not confirm some of the reported killings.
Kanu is facing charges of terrorism, treasonable felony, management of an unlawful society and illegal possession of firearms.
His trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja will resume on October 21 before Justice Binta Nyako.
He remains in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Killings, violence rock Southeast
There were gunshots in the early hours of yesterday at Nkwogwu in Aboh Mbaise LGA of Imo State.
Two buses conveying passengers from Umuahia to Owerri were intercepted by gunmen and set ablaze.
Two persons could not escape; they were burnt. Two drivers were shot dead.
There were shootings at Isiala-Amadim village in Amaifeke, Orlu LGA, where gunmen chased a man in his car into the home of a widow.
The hoodlums took the man and his vehicle away and set the house ablaze.
In Anambra, two naval officers were feared killed following a clash with suspected IPOB members.
The incident occurred at Awkuzu in Oyi LGA.
Gunshots were still being fired in the area as of 5 pm yesterday.
Eyewitnesses said the gunmen in five different vehicles stormed where the security operatives were stationed and opened fire on them.
Police spokesman, Ikenga Tochukwu, said an investigation was ongoing.
Two suspected IPOB enforcers were feared killed on Ugwuorie/Nnewi road in Ozubulu, Ekwusigo LGA in Anambra.
The two were said to have been shot dead by a military patrol team approaching the spot where a roadblock was mounted.
Two other residents were feared killed in Nnewi when three buses were set ablaze in the industrial city.
The casualties were recorded during a confrontation at the Izuchukwu junction.
An eyewitness said one of the deceased was the leader of IPOB’s security arm, the Eastern Security Network (ESN); the other was a commercial motorcyclist.
The eyewitness said: “It was about 7 am when some IPOB members came out to enforce the sit-at-home order and in the process blocked the major roads in the town.
“Some soldiers stormed the area to clear the way, which led to an altercation between them and the IPOB members.”
A resident said two bodies were seen on the road.
Also yesterday, gunmen attacked the Nnewi Police Area Command, carting away some arms.
The hoodlums engaged policemen in a gun duel having stormed the area at noon in seven vehicles.
The exchange of gunfire lasted for about an hour, according to eyewitnesses.
It was learnt that the gunmen overpowered the policemen and carted arms away. No life was lost.
“A security reinforcement arrived at the scene shortly after the gunmen had left,” an eyewitness said.
In Ebonyi, a woman was shot at the Aguogboriga axis suspected robbers.
The victim was shot in the eye after being dispossessed of her belongings.
There were unconfirmed reports that three persons were killed in Obiozara in Ohaoazara LGA.
The police could not be reached for comments.
Most residents in the Southeast complied with the sit-at-home directive for fear of being harmed.
In Enugu, most residents wanted to go to work or open their shops but there were no vehicles to convey them.
Some who came out quickly returned as news filtered that hoodlums were having a field day.
Some were left stranded at various bus stops as commercial bus drivers and tricycle operators withdrew their services.
Traders, workers and pupils, especially those who were to write General Mathematics and Woodwork in the National Examination Council (NECO) Senior School Certificate Examination as well as travellers were the most affected.
At Ogbete, Mayor and Gariki markets, some traders were afraid to open their shops.
Some policemen were urging them to open their shops, but the traders were not convinced.
In Ebonyi, eateries, telecommunications companies and shopping malls in Abakaliki, the state capital, did not open. Banks on Ogoja and Afikpo roads did not open.
The International Market in the capital city was deserted. Filling stations were shut. The popular mechanic village was deserted.
Even their Lordships and lawyers stayed away from the courts. Lecturers at the state university were absent.
In Owerri, the Imo State capital, shops and markets were closed; roads were deserted.
Youths turned the Douglas Road, School Road and Oguamala Street to temporary football pitches.
Some sections of the popular Ekeokwu Owerri market were closed; the mechanic village and banks were shut.
Some candidates for the NECO examination wore mufti to their centres.
Hawkers and food vendors complained of low patronage.
In Onitsha, commercial activities were grounded. Schools, public institutions, markets and street shops were under lock.
Banks were closed; major roads and streets were deserted, including the ever-busy Niger Bridge, Onitsha/Enugu expressway, Upper Iweke and Ziks roundabout.
Masked hoodlums with assorted weapons beat up those who opened shops and destroyed their wares. In some places, security agents were nowhere in sight.
In Abia, business owners in Aba, the commercial centre, stayed away.
Employees of federal, state and local government establishments, banks and other financial institutions stayed away. Gates were locked.
Transport companies withdrew their services.
Major markets in Aba, such as Ariaria International Market, Ahia Ohuru, School Road Spare Parts market and St. Michael’s road mobile phone cluster were devoid of their usual hustle and bustle.
The ever-busy Aba-Owerri Expressway was empty.
In Oyigbo LGA of Rivers State, the mostly Igbo residents complied with the sit-at-home.
The area was deserted with a majority of the shops under lock; those who were seen at their business places had no customers to attend to.
A vulcaniser told our reporter: “We shut down because Federal Government is holding our leader.
“They should release him unconditionally and there will be no need for shutting down our businesses.
“We will soon shut down entire Nigeria. They are yet to realise it.”
A trader, Felicia Ude, said she opened her plastics shop because she needed to feed her family, but lamented poor patronage as the area was deserted.
On social media, the sit-at-home trended. A user wrote: “When you have to turn to violence and murder, you are not legitimate. IPOB does not represent Ndigbo.”
IPOB: it was a huge success
IPOB hailed its members and “friends of Biafra and lovers of Biafra’s freedom” for the “huge” success recorded in the sit-at-home.
It also thanked its security outfit and volunteer members who made the exercise successful, saying the total compliance was a warning to its oppressors.
IPOB, in a statement by its spokesman, Emma Powerful, said the development demonstrated the unity among Ndigbo and their readiness to restore Biafra.
“Now they understand how prepared we are in our irrevocable resolve to restore Biafran sovereignty,” he said
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