Biafra: Sit-At-Home Compliance In Full Gear As South East Shuts Down
The sit-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra is holding.
In Onitsha, Nnewi, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Asaba, shops, schools and businesses were shut in compliance with the sit-at-home order.
In Onitsha, the economic hub of Anambra state on the banks of the River Niger, most markets were closed and the streets were largely devoid of people and traffic, AFP reports.
“No work today, we are Biafran, we are not Nigerians,” said Ebere Ichukwu Eli, one of the few people to venture outside, where there was visible security presence.
“No violence, it is a peaceful sit at home. We are protesting peacefully,” the 47-year-old told AFP.
A woman who gave her name only as Justine, said: “The market is closed today. I’m just going home to stay with my children. We want our one Biafra. It’s our land. That’s why we all sit at home today.”
People said the sit-at-home was either to commemorate the anniversary in support or because of fears of violence.
In the past, police and soldiers violently dispersed the group when they tried to gather to commemorate the day last year, killing at least 60 people in the process, according to Amnesty International.
Police last week denounced “planned protests and order of market closures” and warned it would “deal decisively” with any breach of the peace or unlawful protest.
Calls for independence never disappeared even after the 30-month civil war, which left more than one million dead, most of them Igbos, mainly from starvation and disease.
Many people accuse the government of failing to invest in the southeast since the end of the war in 1970, blighting development. Some see it as a punishment for the conflict.
Support for secession has increased since the arrest in late 2015 of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the pro-independence Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement.