In Anambra State, residents say they are ready for the sit-at-home order.
As a result, traders, schools, transporters and artisans have engaged in panic buying of food items in the state.
Newspaper vendors, artisans and market women, told The Nation that they would heed the directive because nobody would want to lose his or her life
A trader at Eke -Awka Market, Mrs Ebele Okafor, told The Nation that life has no duplicate, while Ijeoma Okuani, who has a cosmetics shop at the popular Aroma, said she had stocked her house with food items despite the hard economic conditions in the country.
Also, a tricycle operator in the state, Uzoma Osuoha, who hails from Imo State, said he would not like to risk his life, adding that he had already given his wife money to buy things.
When our reporter visited Oye Market in Nibo, Awka South Local Government Area of the state, the crowd was unprecedented.
The banks in the state were not left out. One of the workers of a new generation bank, who pleaded anonymity, said a circular had come from their headquarters for them not to work.
According to the employee, “these IPOB people are not helping Ndigbo. Instead of protecting the lives of their people, they are killing them. Is that how they will rule?
The state’s police command says there’s no cause for alarm, as its duty is to protect the lives and property of the citizenry. Speaking with The Nation in Awka, the command’s Public Relations’ Officer, Ikenga Tochukwu, said they don’t deal with speculation, adding that the days being mentioned were like any other day to the police
He said the command had prepared itself ahead of time to make sure that residents of the state were well secured, including their property.
“We don’t have any specific date in mind for securing the lives and property of citizens. The command is equal to any task,” Tochukwu said.
Past attacks haunt Imo residents
Imo State has been the hot spot of the crisis allegedly caused by IPOB in recent times. The state governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma’s residence was recently attacked in one of the violence linked to the proscribed group. Three operatives, including an officer of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and a policeman attached to the building, were killed during the attack.
Before then, the police headquarters in Owerri, two court buildings, an army checkpoint, two council secretariats and a correctional centre from which gunmen reportedly freed 1,884 inmates, had been attacked and razed.
A recent raid on the headquarters of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) in the state, which led to the killing of the Deputy Commander of the group, identified as Ikonso, and six other members has heightened fears in the minds of the people, especially as aggrieved leadership of the ESN has vowed to pay the state governor back in its own coins for allegedly masterminding the murder of Ikonso.
“Hope Uzodinma and all those who had a hand in this wickedness will pay dearly. For murdering Ikonso, the ESN unit Commander, in cold blood, Uzodima has stirred the hornet’s nest! He should get ready for a sting,” the group threatened in a statement after the murder of Ikonso.
Many people in the state are fear-stricken that IPOB may be waiting for the Biafra Remembrance Day celebration to carry out its threat.
A trader at Ekeukwu Market, Owerri, Dorathy Chinkwe, said: “I will not come to the market to open our shop on that day, because I don’t want to be killed by stray bullets. If I want to die, let me die at home peacefully.”
A petrol station attendant along Aba-Owerri Road, who gave her name simply as Joy, told our correspondent in Owerri that she had cancelled all engagements.
“Though I don’t have money to buy foodstuff, I have cancelled going out because of the situation in the state and the country in general.
“They said we should not come out tomorrow (Sunday).
“There are killings here and there and you expect us to come out when those that are killing people are asking us to stay at home?
“If you don’t obey and come out and something happens, people will blame you. So, for me, I don’t think I’m going anywhere.”
A sales representative with a mobile telecommunication company in Owerri, Maureen Duru, said: “We are just being security conscious. We will not call it panic buying. We are buying to keep food at home because of security problems. That day, if people are not going out, we will sit at home. We have to obey. But once people are going out, we will also go out.”
Uche Udenmadu, a businessman, said he is not into panic buying because there is nothing to panic about.
“As far as I am concerned, I don’t think there is a need for panic buying. Moreover, the government has assured us that we should go about our normal businesses as they are there to protect us. That’s the assurance that is very important to all indigenes in the state.”
Anxiety mounts in Enugu
Palpable apprehension pervades the atmosphere in Enugu State over the May 31 sit-at-home order issued by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) to mark Biafra Day.
The two groups and some other pro-Biafran groups had earlier scheduled the sit-at-home protest for Sunday, May 30 in commemoration of Biafra Day, It also said that while there would be a partial observation of the Biafra Day on Sunday, there would be a total lockdown on Monday throughout the entire Biafra land.