Some state governments and police commands in the South-East have kicked against an order by the Indigenous People of Biafra declaring every Monday a sit-at-home day from August 9 until its leader Nnamdi Kanu is released from the detention of the Department of State Services.
The police and state governments asked the people to go about their business, assuring them of safety, stating that they would not condone any act of intimidation from IPOB, a proscribed secessionist group.
Kanu, who was rearrested in June in Kenya and extradited to Nigeria, is facing a treasonable felony offence.
During a resumed hearing of his case at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday, his matter was adjourned till October 21 following the failure of the DSS to produce him in court.
IPOB, in a statement by the group’s Media and Public Secretary, Emma Powerful, on Friday, said, “We the global family of the Indigenous People of Biafra wish to announce to all Biafra citizens, friends of Biafra and lovers of Biafra freedom and independence that IPOB leadership has declared every Monday ‘a ghost Monday.’
“This declaration takes effect from Monday, August 9, 2021. From that day, Biafra land will be on lockdown every Monday from 6am to 6pm until our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who was unlawfully abducted in Kenya and illegally detained by the Federal Government of Nigeria, is released.
“DSS should know that if anything untoward happens to him, we are going to confirm what IPOB is made of and they will understand that we are prepared for this freedom. Our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, is not a criminal and has the right to be visited in custody.
“We declare every Monday a sit-at-home day throughout Biafra land until our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu regains his freedom. The Federal Government must allow him access to his personal physicians, and allow him to sign documents given to him by the British Government to provide him consular assistance. This peaceful protest will continue once every week until our demands are met.”
The group added, “Consequently, all institutions (public and private), transport companies, schools, banks, markets, airports and seaports in Biafra land must shut down every Monday beginning from August 9. People are to remain indoors to register their concern over the fate of our leader and the rest of all agitators languishing in various security detentions.”
However, the Anambra State Government, while reacting to IPOB’s order, said there were plans to ensure the people of the state were not intimidated by anybody.
The state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C-Don Adinuba, said, “We won’t disclose our plans to the media, but I want to assure you that we have big plans to ensure that our people are free from any form of intimidation.”
Similarly, the Anambra State police command, on Friday, said there was no need to be alarmed over IPOB’s threat.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Ikenga Tochukwu, said the command was committed to the protection of the people of the state.
“I have not seen the IPOB’s statement. But what I can assure you is that the command is fully prepared and committed to giving maximum protection to the Anambra people. Nothing will stop us from doing that,” he said.
Similarly, the Imo State Government said Governor Hope Uzodimma was too focused on delivering good governance to be distracted by IPOB.
The governor’s aide on print media, Modestus Nwamkpa, said, “What matters to us as a government is our contract with the people.”
“Governor Uzodimma does not want to be distracted. He wants to sustain the peace we have achieved,” he added.
Also, the Ebonyi State Police Command on Friday dismissed IPOB’s threat, saying its sit-at-home order can’t hold in the state.
The police said any attempt by IPOB to enforce the order in the state would be met with fierce resistance, stressing that nobody has the right to infringe on another’s fundamental human rights.
The state Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Garba, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, said, “We will resist such a move by IPOB.”
Garba stated, “This is one threat too many. It can’t work here. We will make sure it doesn’t hold.
“We have put serious and adequate security measures in place to ensure that this can’t happen. People should go about their lawful business from that day because nobody has the right to infringe on another’s rights.”