The commercial cities of Aba and Onitsha were yesterday a shadow of their bustling business activities following protests staged by the two pro-Biafra groups, the Indigenous peoples of Biafra and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
In Aba, it was a total lock down as all the markets and shops remained closed as the protesters marched through the major streets of the commercial city, carrying the Biafran flags and portraits of the detained pro-Biafran activist, Nnamdi Kanu. Security agencies followed the protesters behind and monitored the event to ensure that it was not hijacked by hoodlums to unleash violence in the city.
No violent incident was reported as the protesters expressed their grievances peacefully. They sang Biafran liberation songs, some of which evokes nostalgic feelings of the country that existed for over three years.
The lock down of Aba was in defiance to the state government’s warning that the protesters should not disrupt movement of people or prevent them from engaging in their business activities.
The warning, which was contained in a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Bonnie Iwuoha, was repeatedly announced on state radio more than 24 hours to the commencement to the protest march.
In the statement he had warned that “the disturbance of public peace and free movement of people would not be tolerated” by government and even blamed opposition politicians for “engineering crisis in the state.”
The commissioner also urged parents to warn their children and wards to avoid encountering “regrettable consequences” by engaging in acts capable of disturbing public peace.
However all these threats came to naught as the pro-Biafra groups ensured that Aba was shut down once again yesterday as they insisted on the release of Kanu, who has been in detention for over two months. It was gathered that the pro-Biafra groups had been sending messages to Aba residents since last Sunday informing them that there would be no business yesterday.
In Onitsha, no fewer than 15,000 members and supporters of IPOB shut down the commercial city and its environs in Anambra State, protesting the continued incarceration of Kanu.
The protest which was actually in solidarity with Kanu, spread to adjoining towns like Obosi and Nkpor, thus making vehicular movements very difficult as members of the IPOB and their sympathisers marched from the Niger Bridge Head to the former Ogbunike Toll Gate in the outskirts. This lasted for over seven hours before normalcy was restored on the River Niger Bridge head, easing vehicular movement temporarily when the crowd of supporters left the area.
The members of IPOB were non-violent in their protest and soldiers from the army regiment in Onitsha who tried to disperse them, later soft pedaled because they were so many and might have reasoned that dispersing them could create untoward resistance they might not contain.
The soldiers simply implored them to maintain their civility and ensure that other road users were not molested.
Even the Onitsha-Owerri Road was not spared as the intimidating crowd swarmed all over the road forcing markets on the road as well as the Bridge Head Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers, Ochanja Market, New Auto Spare Parts Market, Building Material Market in Ogidi and other sundry markets to be affected by the protest march.
The IPOB spokesman, Comrade Emma Powerful said in Onitsha: “We decided to avoid coming close to markets, especially Onitsha Main Market, because of the false allegation by some leaders of the traders who have been paid to destroy our image, with allegations of looting and destroying the traders’ goods.
“We are not protesting against our brothers and sisters who are doing their genuine business of trading and other businesses, so there is no reason to attack anybody, or invade their shops, neither are we begging anybody to come and join in the protest, people whose lives and businesses have been destroyed by government policies join us without invitation, while others join in solidarity as Igbos, and allegation of infiltration into our fold is also false, baseless and figments of the imagination of those making it. We are only protesting to secure the release of our leader,” he said
National Coordinator of IPOB, Mr. Chidiebere Onwudiwe, said they were protesting because of the continued detention of Kanu and the marginalisation of South-east geographical zone generally in infrastructural development. The protest he said, would Kanu continue today.
Criminal minds threatening Army with travel ban: Buratai
Tukur Buratai, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff has disclosed that he does not mind living in Nigeria for the rest of his life.
Buratai made this statement on Monday in a meeting with Army Commanders in Abuja, where they deliberated on the recent End SARS protest and pockets of violence across the country.
Information Nigeria recalls there have been calls by International bodies calling for a travel ban to be placed on some military officers accused of human rights abuses in Nigeria.
Buratai attacked the international organizations clamoring for a ban on top personnel and soldiers over rights abuses. According to him, his first trip outside Nigeria was when he was 50 and that he doesn’t mind if he has to live in Nigeria for the rest of his life.
“Criminal elements are threatening us with travel ban but we are not worried because we must remain in this country to make it better. The first time I travelled outside of this country, I was already 50 years and a General, so I don’t mind if I live the rest of my life here” The Cable quoted him as saying
At the meeting, the Army chief said recent events across the country have shown the determination of unscrupulous individuals and groups to cause chaos by all means.
“The events of the past few days in our dear nation have shown the determination of some unscrupulous individuals and groups to destabilise Nigeria by all means,” he said.
These individuals, groups and other undesirable elements have hijacked the peaceful #EndSARS protest marches resulting to widespread violence, acts of wanton destruction and looting of public and private properties in many parts of the country. These acts led to the imposition of curfew in several states of the federation.
Despite all these, the army has continued to exercise restraint applied all the principles of internal security operations and fully abided by the internationally recognised rules of engagement as contained in our published standard operating procedures for internal security operations which are derived from the International human rights laws and are in accordance with the international principles guiding the use of force.” he said.
How iron protector prevented my shop from being robbed: Business man
Chima Smart Nwaneri, a businessman who operates in Owerri, Imo state has disclosed how suspected robbers were unable to burgle his office due to an iron protector.
Nwaneri thanked God for wisdom saying they couldn’t access his goods because of the protector on his ceiling.
Chima wrote on his Twitter account;
“So robbers visited my office where i do my business, but I thank God for wisdom, they couldn’t enter because of the protector on the ceiling..
Help me thank God….”
#EndSARS: We are not collection of angels, Nigerian Police says
The Nigerian police have said its officers are not angels, but the force is doing its best to serve Nigerians better.
This was disclosed in a statement posted on Twitter by the force. This comes after several unrest and pockets of violence that greeted the endsSARS protest against police brutality.
The Nigerian police appear to have started an online campaign to redeem their image and rebuild trust with Nigerian citizens, following the nationwide #EndSARS protests and its devastating fallout.
The security agency which admitted that it is not a collection of angels, however told Nigerians that it is doing its best to ensure better services.
The police, Monday night, uploaded a campaign flyer on Twitter, via their official handle @PoliceNG.
“We are not a collection of angels, but we are doing our best to serve you better,” said the flyer which was produced by the police public relations department, Force Headquarters, Abuja.
— Nigeria Police Force (@PoliceNG) October 26, 2020
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