D-day for IPOB over controversial sit-at-home exercise

File photo of IPOB members demonstrate in Onitsha. [Photo credit: NAN]
File photo of IPOB members demonstrate in Onitsha. [Photo credit: NAN]

On September 14, 2017, the Nigerian Army invaded the Afaraukwu, Umuahia country home of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

IPOB, a group agitating for Independence of Eastern Nigeria, prior to this attack had been growing in popularity in the region.

After the invasion, Mr Kanu has not been seen as his whereabouts remain unknown.

His parents have also not been seen since the invasion.

While the military continues to deny knowing their whereabouts, IPOB continues to point accusing fingers at the army.

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IPOB last month called for a sit-at-home exercise in the region on September 14 (today) to commemorate the invasion.

But security agencies have been talking tough, warning IPOB, which was proscribed by governors of the region and declared a terrorist organisation by the federal government at the height of the crisis last year, not to embark on the exercise.

The police in states in the region held series of meetings with stakeholders, banks, markets and council leaders where they urged them to ignore the group’s order and open for business promising them adequate security.

But despite the warnings, IPOB insists on going ahead with the sit-at-home protest across the states in the South-east and some parts of the South-south.

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The group ordered residents of the zone to stay indoors in their interest and safety.

In a statement by IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, on Thursday, the group insisted that the protest must hold.

The group also alleged that the ‘Operation Python Dance 3’ by the army is being used to oppress the people of the South-East.

“Operation Python Dance Three has started with deadly shootings in Anambra, illegal arrests and abductions in Enugu and Aba. To stay safe and alive, people must remain indoors because the Nigerian army and police will kill anybody they see outside this Friday.

“We, IPOB, wish to inform the treacherous South-East governors, Ohaneze Ndigbo and the so-called Biafra Coalition that hosted and entertained the Biafra hater, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, in Owerri recently that their attempt to use coordinated scare tactics through media statements to intimidate the people of Biafra into disobeying IPOB is a well-known trick that will fail woefully.

“We call on all Biafrans to pass a vote of no confidence on South-East governors, Ohaneze Ndigbo and PANDEF (Pan Niger Delta Forum) by sitting at home as ordered by the IPOB High Command,” Mr Powerful added.

Previous sit-at-home declarations by IPOB have been partially successful across the South-east. The question on the lips of many observers will thus be: will the exercise be successful or will the people disobey the order? PREMIUM TIMES will bring you updates on how it is going down in the region.

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