Mixed reactions on Friday greeted a directive by the Indigenous People of Biafra for sons and daughters of Igbo origin around the world to sit at home in protest of the continued detention of the leader of the movement, Nnamdi Kanu, and other pro-Biafra agitators.
According to the secessionist movement, the sit-at-home protest was initiated to “further compound Nigeria’s economic misery”.
In some parts of Anambra State especially Onitsha on Friday for example, commercial activities were completely paralysed as markets, banks and schools were shut while vehicular movement reduced drastically.
In the Awka and Nnewi parts of the state, however, there was partial compliance to the order.
In neighbouring Enugu State, many traders and shop owners opened for business even though later than usual, to attend to customers.
The slow start to activities for the day was initially as a result of apprehension on the minds of many people. But soon after residents realised there was no restriction in movement, they started pouring out on to the streets. Heavily-armed policemen and other law enforcement agents could be seen patrolling major parts of the city.
In Abia, the directive was also greeted with low compliance as people went about their normal daily activities without hitch.
Checks by Saturday PUNCH revealed that schools, banks, hospitals, markets as well as motor parks opened for business without any interference from members of IPOB.
A handful of private schools however closed down for the fear of the unknown, while some business owners refused to open their shops, fearing there could be trouble.
At Ohia auto spare parts market along Enugu Port-Harcourt Expressway, a market leader, Victor Elewor, said the area comprises people with diverse views about the Biafra agitation, and as a result nobody could force anyone to obey the sit-at-home order by IPOB.
He added that no directive was given to the market authorities to close down the market for any protest.
It was the same situation in Asaba, the Delta State capital, as many residents also went about their normal activities.
In most parts of the city visited by one of our correspondents on Friday, it was observed that business activities went on seamlessly while vehicular movements was as normal as it used to be on any day. Only few shops located within the vicinity where the group had commenced their protest in the past were shut owing to fears by its owners.
At the ever-busy popular Ogbogonogo Market along the Nnebisi Road in Asaba, many shop owners shunned the order as they shaded their goods with customers patronising them.
There was however partial compliance in Okwe, Osadennis Way and Cable Point while residents and business owners at Nnebisi, West-End, Summit, Anwai and Okpanam Roads totally defied the order. There was heavy presence of anti-riot policemen and other security agents at major strategic point across most parts of the state particularly the capital.
In Japan, some members of the movement poured out on the streets of the capital, Tokyo, in solidarity with the call.
Chanting songs of solidarity, the protesters displayed the Biafran flag, banners and other insignia synonymous with the agitation to secede from Nigeria, as they marched from end to end.
Meanwhile IPOB in a statement, congratulated the people of Biafra around the world for their supports towards the successful sit-at-home order and demand for the release Kanu.
The statement signed by the Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Mr. Emma Powerful, said, “Protests took place in all the continents of the world, countries in Europe ,America, South America, Australia, some Asian and other African countries.”
Spokespersons for the police in Anambra, Enugu, Abia and Delta in separate statements warned that anyone caught causing trouble or taking laws into their hands would be severely punished.