MASSOB's Sit-at-home Order: 6 Die In Onitsha, Residents In Part Compliance
THREE members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) were reported to have died, Saturday, when their bus somersaulted and crashed at Modebe Avenue, Onitsha, as they attempted to evade arrest by military personnel.
There was total compliance on the sit-at-home order in major cities in Anambra State, while in Enugu, it was a partial success.
The activities by the group in Awka and its environs crippled commercial activities and also left commuters stranded.
An eyewitness said some MASSOB members in a bus were monitoring and enforcing the order in Onitsha when they sighted a military patrol van.
Another account by MASSOB's Director of Information, Uchennna Madu, said, three members of the group, Sunday Idum, Emeka Ibe and Okechukwu Okolo, were shot dead by soldiers at Bida Road, Onitsha, while five others were critically injured and are receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital.
He said that three unconfirmed members were also shot dead at the bridgehead in Onitsha, while four others were arrested by security operatives.
Madu said: 'We view the thousands of Army, Police, SSS and Civil Defence Personnel patrolling the streets on the cities of Biafraland as an act of cowardice. They are jittery over MASSOB's activities. The level of compliance from Ndigbo on the MASSOB order shows that no mountain can stop our move to freedom and we know that we must achieve our aim.'
Few people came out on the streets. Commercial buses and motorcycles that operated had few passengers and most roads were deserted.
The Eke Awka market and others, like Enugwu Ukwu, Nimo, Abagana, Nibo remained closed.
Vehicular movement along Enugu-Onitsha Expressway and Awka-Old Road was reduced to a trickle. Those that plied Awka metropolis, including Zik Avenue, Arthur Eze and Works Road were predominantly private vehicles.
A trader in Awka, Chika Ibe, said the action is to inform the world on the plight of Ndigbo who are being slaughtered in large numbers under the watchful eye of the federal government.
'It is a struggle for freedom. It is this kind of killings that caused the civil war. I lost a brother, Marcel Nwaenyi and Matthew Muolokwu in Yobe State. I am not happy. This is not one Nigeria,' he said.
The order in Enugu recorded partial success.
Although the police in the state had asked residents to go about their normal activities and assured them of protection, this however did not deter residents from staying away from their businesses.
The Enugu main market, the new market and Kenyetta market, though opened for business had most of its shops under lock and key, even as few buyers were noticed making purchases.
In some areas in Nsukka, Sunday Tribune discovered that members of the group blocked major roads with used tyres, which they also set fire on.
Armed policemen had, as early as 5.00am on Saturday, started patrolling the nooks and crannies of the state, dismantling blockades put up by the group.
Signs that the sit at home order may succeed thickened on Friday night when it was made the centre of discussions in every public place.
Apprehension however, heightened when there was power outage in the state, thereby leaving residents at the mercy of street lights and generating sets.
In Abia State life continued normally. Business ventures opened and people moved about without molestation.
Members of MASSOB went underground and no trace of them was reported in any part of the state, as at the time of filing this report.
The state police command had on Friday patrolled the streets of Aba and Umuahia and other parts of the state in their anti-riot vehicles in a display of readiness to quell any threat by the group.
The state government had also warned against any form of illegal protest by any group, including MASSOB. It vowed to protect law-abiding citizens that would be harassed while engaging in their legitimate businesses. It also warned MASSOB against embarking on any unlawful act.