Residents of Anambra State have obeyed the directive of their governor, Willie Obiano not to stay indoors on Monday as shops, offices, and banks were opened for business.
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had initially declared Monday as a sit-at-home day to show solidarity with its detained leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who is facing charges bordering on treason and others before an Abuja High Court.
But the group later said the sit-at-home order should only be observed on days Kanu is to appear in court and not every Monday, as initially directed.
However, that has not stopped residents of the South-East from staying indoors every Monday since the initial directive was given, with business activities grounded every first working day of the week.
This week, IPOB expects that the sit-at-home order will be observed on Tuesday to honour members of the group killed by the Nigerian Army in 2017.
However, a resident of Anambra posted on social media that the people went about their businesses, using video and photos to corroborate the report.
The same experience was recorded in Imo State as commercial activities returned on Monday morning, different from what has obtained on a couple of Mondays from August 9.
Recall that Obiano and his Imo State counterpart, Governor, Hope Uzodimma had insisted that the people of their states should disregard the sit-at-home directive of the IPOB, adding that those behind the order had since withdrawn it.
Obiano, therefore, directed that commercial activities should take place on Monday (today) and subsequent Mondays in the state, saying the government can no longer watch helplessly as the economy of the people nosedives.
The Secretary to Anambra State Government, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu, in a meeting with bank executives in Awka urged them to operate fully every working day throughout the state.
Lending weight to the directive on Sunday, the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C. Don Adinuba said the order also affects other sectors of the people’s socio-economic life.
According to him, all markets, as well as motor parks and commercial vehicles would henceforth operate fully every Monday and any other weekday, except any day declared work-free by the appropriate authorities.
Adinuba said: “Before Governor Willie Obiano led a meeting with heads of security agencies and bank executives in the state, including those from the Awka branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria, he had personally held frank and rewarding discussions with a large spectrum of leaders of the transport union and market association in Anambra State on why they had for the past five weeks been shutting down their businesses every Monday.
“The transporters, for instance, attributed their action to the inability of commuters to come out for regular business owing to fear of attacks by unknown gunmen while traders explained that without banks opening on any day, it was difficult to keep proceeds of the day in a safe place. The bankers, on their part, argued that without markets opening and people going about their normal businesses, there was no need to open their doors to the public.”
However, it could not be ascertained if it was the governor’s directive that made people come out on Monday.
A source said, “The sit-at-home order has collapsed in Anambra. Could be that they are tired? Hungry? Or the Governor’s order? I don’t know about other states in the South East, but Abia State is not sitting at home today. For those shouting lies, this BBC new live as at 8 am this morning. Accept the fact that people are now tired and hungry.”
However, the gravity of today’s boycott of the sit-at-home directive would be weighed on Tuesday as the separatist group issued another sit-at-home in memorial of its people killed on September 17, 2017, at the compound of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu at Afaraukwu Ibeku Umuahia, Abia State.
Similarly in Imo, the residents of Imo State on Monday began their usual daily business activities.
While vehicles flooded the roads, businesses, fast-food centres, artisans, roadside traders, supermarkets and mobile food vendors also operated freely.
Although businesses at the major markets were not at their peak, a reasonable percentage of buying and selling occurred mostly in all the local government areas of the state just as commercial motorcyclists transported passengers to their various destinations without hitches.
In Owerri, the state capital, Wetheral, Douglas, Tetlow, Onitsha, Port Harcourt, Okigwe, Mbaise, Aba, and Orlu roads were relatively busy.
However, some fear-stricken ‘sensitive’ institutions such as banks public, and private schools apprehensive of a possible invasion by hoodlums did not open for customers or students and pupils.
The case was not very different in Abia State where traders were absent in markets and some other commercial places in the state.
The state government had implored market and motor union leaders to open for activities and threatened to close those who disobey the directive.
The government also directed security agents to provide security at suspected flashpoints and patrol the roads.
However, there are reports from some quarters that the gates of the major markets in the state such as the Ariaria International, Ekeoha, Cemetery, among others were open but there were no traders and customers on sight.
Banks, filling stations, and other business centres did not open but government offices were open.
Motor parks were also deserted.