Businesses, Investments Suffer Losses As IPOB Sit-At-Home Takes Toll In South East


By John Ugo, Awka
The five states in Nigeria’s Southeast geo political zone are facing hard times over the crippling effect of the weekly Monday Sit-At-Home directive by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
It is estimated that more than N8billion is lost each week due to constant closure of offices, big markets and other commercial activities in the states where the order is now seen as a new way of life and one that must not be flouted.
Investigations revealed that states such as Anambra, Imo and Abia are most affected by the IPOB’s directive while traders and market women in Enugu and Ebonyi states have continued to open their shops and markets to customers.
Besides, motor parks have also suffered the same fate as commercial drivers shun operations each Monday in compliance with the order by IPOB even though IPOB had lately through its Director of Media and Publicity, Comrade Emma Powerful, reiterated that the order is no longer on effect.
This followed the intervention and plea by Igbo elders,leaders and stakeholders from the Southeast zone shortly after their visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Rock as part of their efforts to ensure the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB.
Mazi Kanu, who is presently facing terrorism, treasonable felony and other criminal charges brought against him by the federal government is being held in solitary confinement by the Department of State Services, DSS, in Abuja.
His detention by the DSS is in contradiction of the order by the Federal High Court Abuja that Kanu should be transfered to the Correctional Centre and should be accorded the right to his religion and freedom to change his clothes.
However, checks reveal that even when compliance with the stay at home order is waning as a result of nose diving of businesses on account of low level patronage, residents of the five states have gradually keyed into it as a way of life.
Some of them said the directive rightly or wrongly is now part of resting days every week
Our reporter who visited the popular Onitsha International Main Market, Nkwor Nnewi Auto Spare Parts Market, the Relief Market at Upper Iweka, Nkpor Market, New Parts Market, Bridge Head Drugs Market, and Building Materials Market, reported that all the markets were under closed on Monday.
In Orlu town, Okporo, Akatta, Omuma and Orsu comunities as well as Ihiala, Uli and parts of Mgbidi, all in Imo and Anambra States, residents remained indoors with markets closed over fear of IPOB clampdown.
In Abia and Umuahia, the commercial towns of Abia State, businesses were shut while roads remained deserted while popular Ariaria International Market was closed for business.
In Awka town, the popular Eke Awka market, Agu, and adjoining markets were deserted except for street traders and hawkers while tricycle operators had a field day.
The situation in Enugu was not different except that markets and businesses remained open at the Ogbete Market but business centers did not open.
Also, secondary and primary schools were shut as students and pupils were not allowed to go to school by their parents. In addition, commercial banks were compelled to close shop over fear of the unknown.
Workers in most government ministries, agencies and parastatals did not go to work even as it was discovered that some of the offices did not open for work.
Residents of the affected states have continued to live in fear following weeks and months of bloody clashes between suspected members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the security arm of IPOB and those of Special security team in collaboration with Imo State Government Vigilante group, Ebube Agu.
The clashes have led to the death of hundreds of innocent youths while the people of the various communities have fled their homes as soldiers and rival groups embark on wanton killings and destruction of houses.
It would be recalled that Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State had last year appealed to the people to go about their normal businesses and other socio-economic activities as they would always be protected by security agencies in the state.
This seemed to have yielded little or no result as most people have fallen victims of suspected IPOB attacks.
IPOB though has repeatedly denied any attacks on people in recent times but attribute such incidents to hoodlums who may have taken advantage of the order to the people to stay at home.
IPOB has insisted that people should not continue to obey the weekly Monday sit at home directive except the day Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is going to court.
The confusion caused by activities of the proscribed group has left the states and their people at a crossroads even as governors of the affected areas appear helpless.
More than 750 persons have been killed between 2021 and now, a figure that includes both civilians and security personnel on duty.
Sadly, a good number of private companies and investors have closed shop due to the hurtful effects and losses the weekly sit at home and onslaught by militant activities have inflicted on them.


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