Onitsha shut down, business paralysed

From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha

Business activities and vehicular movement were paralysed in Onitsha, the commercial nerve centre of Anambra State, in total compliance with the sit-at-home order declared by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

IPOB has been demanding the unconditional release of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who was recently arrested in Kenya and brought to Nigeria and is currently detained by the Department of State Services (DSS) in Abuja.

The Igbo separatists group called for a sit-at-home shutdown every Monday in South East states, some parts of the South South and major markets operated by Igbo people in the North and western parts of the country until the Federal Government unconditionally releases Kanu from detention.

Our correspondent who monitored the shutdown in Onitsha reports that all major markets including Main Market, banks, petrol stations and parks were shut down in compliance with the order.

Major roads leading to Main Market Onitsha such as Old Market, New Market, Venn Roads, were deserted as young boys used the roads to play football while few tricycles were seen operating randomly.

At Upper Iweka and Bridgehead Onitsha, all the motor parks were shut down, few vehicles were seen crossing from Asaba to Onitsha.

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Some security operatives were seen patrolling major roads and streets in Onitsha to ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order.

The Chairman of Main Market Onitsha, Mr Kenneth Onyeka, said that the market was opened for business but traders refused to come due to one problem or the other.

‘I’m still in the market, we did not close the market. We announced on Saturday that the market will be opened for business as directed by the state government but unfortunately when we came to the market today about ten shops were opened for business,’ he said.

‘The reason is not farfetched, as most traders could not found means of transportation to the market while some traders who came to buy goods with the intention of withdrawing money from their banks but met it shut down due to fear of the unknown,’ Onyeka stated.

Residents who spoke to Daily Sun said that they complied with the sit-at-home order due to what they consider to be the marginalisation meted out to Igbo people and queried why Kanu should be arrested outside the country and detained like a criminal.

They accused the Federal Government of not following due process in repatriating Kanu.

‘The best thing in this country is to divide the country into three or six countries so that every segment will go and develop its own country than remain in one Nigeria as a slave to Northerners. Look at insecurity everywhere, economic downturn, hunger and starvation in the land which the government has failed to address but pursuing shadows.

‘Nnamdi Kanu did not commit any crime compared to what most of those in power are committing today but none of them has been convicted. The young man is calling for secession due to injustice meted out to Igbo people,’ Dan Nwose stated.

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