By Uzoh Nwakaije, Awka; Chinenye Chukwueke, Umuahia.
Many major roads were shut down Tuesday in the South-Eastern flank of Nigeria as many businesses closed shop in deference to the sit-as-home order of many groups in commemoration of Biafra Day.
Others did it not as a precautionary measure not run foul of enforcers of the day, or be caught up in a fight between agitators and the Police.
Some other residents frowned at what they described as “needless sit-at.home order which led to loss of billions of Naira and man-hours which puts us ahead of others.”
“It is just political gimmickry by those who want to ride on others back to prominence. The republican and industrious spirit is good, but we can serve ourselves better than allowing Ill-educated persons to dictate to us and scare us to remain indoors,” one fearful resident of Onitsha said.
In Anambra, commercial activities were paralyzed as markets, schools, and banks shut down
Many remained indoors while markets, banks, schools and government departments were closed just as many civil servants did not report for duty.
In Awka, the state capital, some were seen gathered in groups discussing the development and youths turned every open space into a football pitch.
The Eke Awka, timber market and other nearby markets remained closed and did not open for business. Few vehicles especially private cars and buses were seen on the major roads in Awka town, including the Zik avenue, Ifete and Arthur Eze roads. Also few vehicles plied the Onitsha – Enugu expressway.
Also at the state secretariat, only few civil servants reported for work at the government house and state secretariat and left as soon as they arrived.
It was the same situation in Ekwulobia, Nnewi and other nearby towns in the state where traders were seen sitting in clusters chatting away their time.
In Onitsha, the popular Upper Iweka motor park, Owerri road and environs were all deserted, and all the markets, schools, banks, shops and other business offices were all closed.
There were few vehicles on the Onitsha Asaba highway and the Onitsha Enugu Expressway while there were few pedestrians in transit.
Security operatives including the Nigerian Police Force, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps and the local vigilante groups were seen patrolling the streets of Onitsha and Nnewi.
In his reaction, Jude Ukachukwu in Awka, said this idea of interruptions can not help achieve the agitation for Biafra, and advised that Ndigbo build a strong political party, build bridges and campaign for the position of president.
Meanwhile, IPOB has congratulated its supporters and other Nigerians within and elsewhere for complying with the sit at home order issued by its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
IPOB frowned at those they called saboteurs who were paid by the federal government to twart efforts at restoration of the Biafra project as they hailed members worldwide for obeying the clarion call.
The Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, in a statement yesterday, said that Biafrans have proven to the entire world that they need freedom and must not go back in the quest for independence of Biafra.
Powerful commended most of the transport companies and business establishments in the South-East geo-political zone for their adherence to total compliance.
A resident of Umuahia, the Abia State capital narrated the situation this morning: “So far the town is quiet. Some businesses are cautiously opening. There’s no serious police presence thus far just the regular ones stationed at various points and those directing traffic.
“Traffic is very light but it’s normal because this is a civil service town and people don’t go to work early.
“Parents are bringing their kids to school but others are still monitoring the situation.”
Residents of Umuahia are extra careful following the show of strength by the Police and Biafran agitators. It is also the hometown of Nnamdi Kanu, the head of the Independent Peoples of Biafra (Ipob).
Kanu is from Afara village in Umuahia North Local Government Area (LGA) and his father is a traditional ruler of his community. His village is the host of the Government house and the family house is about two kilometers to the Government House.
He has been in town since his release and has been receiving visitors there.
The serenity that has been the lot of majoe cities in the South-East is coming as a recollective feature piece on the agitation of the Biafra supporters went viral.
# I’m heading to Uzoakoli to do battle. I’m heading to Uzoakoli, but My lover cries out, she didn’t want me dead.
My lover begs me to flee,
But who will defend the land When I flee?
My sweet heart begs me to Flee,
But who will do battle when the Hausas come#
With this song Biafran men marched into battle to defend their fatherland as Northern troops led by British tanks and Russian planes invaded their land to continue the Genocide that they started in the North in 1966.
Every Month of May, we Remember Over 45, 000 innocent people, men, women, children of old Eastern Nigeria , butchered in 1966 all over Northern Nigeria just in three months in the first government supported genocide in Africa.
Many were laid on rail tracks and crushed by train, men buried alive, pregnant women had their bellies ripped open,Children clubbed to death, Innocent souls whose only crime was belonging to a different ethnic group and Faith,
To the 45,000 Innocent souls whose blood was used to irrigate the deserts of Northern Nigeria, although the conspiracy of silence continues by most Nigerians, although no monuments are erected, although no atonement has been made for that unprecedented horror,their Blood continue to cry out against this nation, a nation that pretends it never happened – but we, your kins, forced to bury empty coffins, we your brothers-
The Thousands and thousands unaccounted for- in unmarked graves, from Kano to Maidugiri, to Jos to Markudi, to Zaria, to Kafanchan,to illorin,
Although Nigeria sits on these graves and pretends it didn’t happen but we in whose home steads you left empty spaces-
To the he brave hearts who stood up to the British armoured cars with matchetes
Two Boys who shared a riffle so when one fell the other will pick up his gun to defend his freedom. To the men who went into battle with five rounds each and must only shoot when he was sure to kill. The men who laid down their lives so I may live
My three kinsmen who volunteered in Oguta and Ontisha sectors,brave men Who never returned-still on patrol
YOUR FAMILIES REMEMBER
To Bruce Mayrock, an American student who set himself on fire, laid down his life to protest against the Genocide by Nigeria against its own people
Artur Alves Pereira and Count Von Rosen of the Biafran airforce who came to Biafra in protest against the state sponsored pogrom
To Wole Soyinka, who stood alone and insisted” the man died” who kept silent in the face of such a pogrom
Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Zambia and Haiti, nations that hoisted our flags against the silence of the world
All members of the Research And Production unit (RAP),
with no outside help YOU demonstrated that the black man can do wonders if only he looks inwards; Home made armoured cars, rockets, beer from cassava, engine oil from coconut, the Biafran Red Devil (Amoured vehicle), the Shore Batteries, the Ogbunigwes. Your ingenuity, your bravely, today-
To our brave mothers , who cooked and sent to their sons in the trenches, knowing it could be their last meal-
The little boys who went “combing” many returned, many did not
The World Council of Churches, The Caritas, The Red Cross who saved millions of children with food aid, despite the blockade,
Millions of our Children who had no milk and died before their time
Ah! Corporal Nwafor, you took in the hail of bullets from the vandals yet continued your final run towards their armoured car with a grenade in your hand, until you successfully threw the grenade into the troublesome vehicle and disabled it before you let your bullet riddled body fall to the ground and your comrades captured the precious armoured car and renamed it “Copral Nwafor”
Col Patrick Achuzie-, General Alexander Madiebo, Gen. Philip Effiong, Col. Onwuatuegwu, Nkonko Ndem and all brave men who stood in the gap
Odumegwu Ojukwu switched from Ball rooms to Bunkers, leaving behind a tremendous wealth to give shelter to a people faced with death, you turned artisans into fighters and scientists, your mission, to build the first black nation with an indigenous technology.
Under the pressure of mortar shells and in less than three years, you demonstrated that the black man can hold his own, but the whites didn’t seem to be comfortable with an indigenous African technology, so UK and USSR suspended their enmity and empowered their Northern stooge to distract you. The Arab League threw its weight behind the North, the rest is history
General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu,Eze igbo gburugburu, oguejiofo..
May justice prevail, may peace reign, may we NEVER find a need to shed blood,May God open the eyes of this Nation to see that like the blood of Abel, the blood of the innocent Easterners shed needlessly in 1966 calls for atonement and until the Nation collectively owns up to it, it can never be free from this vicious circle.