Nnamdi Kanu’s Trail: Southeast Governors, IPOB Clash Over ‘Ghost’ Monday

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Southeast governors on Sunday urged residents to ignore the sit-at-home directive by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB.

The group had urged Ndigbo to stay home to protest the arrest and detention of its leader Nnamdi Kanu.

It said the 6am to 6pm shutdown would be observed every Monday “until Kanu is freed”.

Read Also: Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial: IPOB Suspends Sit-At-Home Order

But there appears to be a division within IPOB as its leaders issued counter-directives yesterday.

Contrary to earlier statement  by IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, that its sit-at-home directive to the people of South East and South South states was sacrosanct, another  statement by  IPOB leader’s younger brother, Kanunta Kanu, said the  planned sit-at-home order had been suspended due to the National Examinations Council, NECO, examination for junior secondary schools.

The younger Kanu said a new date for the commencement of the sit-at-home would be announced.

“As a group fighting for the liberation of her people from oppression from her enemies, we realised that it would amount to assisting the said enemies to inflict more harm on our children if we do not suspend the sit-at-home order to allow Biafra students to take their exams,” he said.

But, IPOB, in a statement by its Head of Directorate, Chika Edoziem, said the planned “lockdown” of “Biafraland” will go on.

He said in a statement: “The Directorate of State of the Indigenous People of Biafra categorically and unequivocally state that our sit-at-home tomorrow (today) will go ahead as planned.

“Any information to the contrary must be ignored as the work of our detractors.”

IPOB’s spokesman, Emma Powerful, added in another statement that the sit-at-home was not suspended.

“We wish to remind every Biafran that the sit at home order remains sacrosanct on Monday,” he said.

He urged residents to disregard any statement that did not emanate from him.

IPOB threatened that “anybody who ventures to come out tomorrow (today) will regret his or her life”.

South-East Governors Counter IPOB’s Directives

However, Abia, Enugu, Anambra,  Imo state governments and police commands in the southeast have asked residents to ignore the IPOB order and go about their legitimate businesses, with the police promising to provide security to resist the order.

Anambra State government warned that employees who stay off work today risk forfeiting their August salary.

In a circular to the heads of ministries and parastatals by the Head of Service, Harry Uduh, the government asked commissioners and permanent secretaries to monitor compliance.

Police spokesman, Ikenga Tochukwu, assured residents of their safety.

He said the command, along with sister agencies, would ensure no harm would befall any citizen going about their business.

The Commissioner of Police in Imo State, Abutu Yaro, urged residents to ignore any such directive from “illegitimate persons and entities that parade the airwaves with falsehood”.

He urged residents to go about their normal business, adding: “It is from the various daily activities they put food on the table.”

He said anyone who enforces any illegal directive will be resisted by the people, backed by security agencies.

“You must not succumb to anarchistic illusions,” the police chief said.

Enugu government urged residents to ignore the directive, calling it “a familiar propaganda that has enthroned hardship on the citizenry”.

Executive Chairman, Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA), Denge Josef Onoh, in a statement, urged residents to go about their business.

“There is no constituted authority, either as federal, state or local government, that declared any Monday as a resting or work-free day.

“We, therefore, ask all business operators within the capital territory to ignore the propaganda of a sit-at-home order as the state government has put machinery in place to ensure that lives and properties are secured.”

Ebonyi State government said schools, markets, banks and offices will open.

Special Assistant to Governor Dave Umahi on Media, Francis Nwaze, said in a statement: “The general public is urged to feel free to go about their lawful businesses in consonance with COVID-19 protocol… without any fear of intimidation or molestation, both on the said date and thereafter.”

Ebonyi State Police Command said it would ensure that nobody is forced to stay at home.

Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Garba, said: “People should go about their lawful business because nobody has the right to infringe on another’s.”

Abia Commissioner for Information, John Okiyi-Kalu, said in a statement that the state was in contact with the Kanu family and others involved in the case.

The statement reads in part: “The Abia State government is confident that the judiciary will ensure a free and manifestly fair trial for him and others as they remain innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction.

“We, therefore, wish to call on all citizens and visitors to continue to be law-abiding and avoid any activity that might lead to a breakdown of law and order.

“While the government will not compel anyone wishing to sit at home for any reason whatsoever not to do so as citizens have freedom of movement, we wish to strongly advise that nobody should also compel or enforce any-sit-at-home order from any non-state actor as doing so does not serve any known interests of the people of the state.

“Compelling our children to stay away from school can only serve the interests of the yet to be properly identified persons who may not want to see us make progress as a people.

“Similarly, our traders sitting at home at a time they need to work very hard to sustain their families and create wealth especially in this era of COVID-19 impacted global economy will not serve any development interest of our hardworking citizens.

“All law-abiding citizens and visitors are, therefore, called upon to go about their normal businesses without fear of molestation as adequate security has been provided to ensure their safety.

“Parents and guardians are also called upon to ensure that they monitor the activities of their children and wards with a view to ensuring that they do not engage in unlawful activities that will put them in harm’s way.”

Abia Police Commissioner, Janet Agbede, said IPOB planned to use its militant arm, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), to enforce compliance.

She said in a statement: “The Commissioner of Police, in conjunction with other security agencies, hereby reassures Abians and those within the state that their security and fundamental human rights are their top priority.

“The Commissioner of Police advises parents and guardians to warn their children and wards against participating in any act (including social media) capable of stirring action likely to cause a breach of the peace.”

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