The Ebonyi State Government, the police and Ohaneze Ndigbo have reacted to a sit-at-home declared by the proscribed separatist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), for October 1.
While the Ebonyi government dismissed the order, the apex Igbo socio-cultural group said there was nothing wrong with it.
The group, in a statement on Wednesday, said the exercise is its own way of protesting incessant killings in the country especially in the South-east.
The IPOB also claimed “it had intelligence report of plots by terror groups to attack people in the South-east who might be celebrating the independence of the country on that day.”
PREMIUM TIMES could not independently verify this claim.
But Ebonyi government urged the people to go about their normal activities on October 1 “as IPOB has no legal basis to compel anyone to stay home”.
The commissioner for internal security, Stanley Emegha, urged the people to disregard the order by IPOB.
“Who is IPOB to tell people to sit at home? That is the height of craziness on their side. How can you tell people who have a family to sit at home? To do what? Will you come and put food on their table?
“In the first place, we don’t even know if there is anything like IPOB existing in the state. People should disregard the said statement and go about their normal business on that day,” he said.
‘Nothing wrong with order’
Meanwhile, Ohanaeze’s publicity secretary, Uche Okpaga, said IPOB’s call was in order.
Mr Okoagha said “there was nothing wrong for a people to sit at home provided they are not violating the law of the land.”
“If IPOB said so, we are supporting it. They are our children. We are supporting it since it is not against the law and so far as it is not a violent act. It is obtainable everywhere in the world. So, we are totally in support of it,” he said.
‘IPOB remains banned’
Meanwhile, the commissioner of police in Ebonyi, Philip Maku, warned IPOB to steer clear of the state.
He said the proscribed group does not have the right to tell people to sit at home.
“People have the fundamental right to movement. If you try to restrict their right to move about and transact their lawful business activities, you are crossing the red line.
“If anyone tries to force people to sit at home, the police will not fail to deal decisively with such persons,” he said.
The police command also urged residents to ignore the call.
Its spokesman, Mohammed Haruna, said “IPOB remains banned and had no right to make the call”.
This is not the first time the group, which has had running battle with the Nigerian state, over its push for a separate nation of Biafra, will be making such a call.
Previous calls for a sit-at-home have been largely ignored but also obeyed by some residents of the South-east.