Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has warned that traders who comply with Monday’s sit-at-home order should be ready to forfeit their shops.
Mr Umahi issued the warning in a state-wide broadcast on Saturday in Abakaliki to mark the sixth anniversary of his administration.
He was reacting to the order by the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) to the residents of South-east region.
He directed that all markets in the state should open for business on Monday.
The governor said, “There should be free movement of people in the state on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and other days of the year.
“People should go to church on Sunday to pray for the nation’s fallen security agents, civilians and peace and unity of the state and country.
“I challenge the youths, local government area chairmen, security agents, Ebebeagu security outfit, among others, to ensure that no one is molested in the state.
“Anyone who has nothing to protect himself should do so with cutlass, which should be for protection and not for attack.”
He said that all forms of procession had been banned in the state except those by youths organised by council chairmen.
“I have been notified about such processions and they are being used to profile our people for empowerment.
“I charge the Ebubeagu security outfit, which is backed by the state laws, to ensure that the people are protected,” Mr Umahi said.
He said the state could not go into “second slavery under any guise”, pointing out that “the secession the people need is massive economic development.
“There will be movement in other parts of the country, if there is none in the South-east so people should therefore ignore such order.
“Ebonyi people are grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari for all his assistance and if people do not see his goodness, he has been good to us,” he said.
He urged parents and opinion leaders to advise the youths to toe the path of peaceful co-existence and not depend on the illusionary influences of hard drugs and fetish powers.
The Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, Mohammed Aliyu, has also advised residents to disregard the IPOB order.
Mr Aliyu gave the advice in a statement issued in Enugu by the police spokesperson in the state, ASP Daniel Ndukwe, on Saturday.
According to Mr Ndukwe, the commissioner appealed to residents to discountenance the order and go about their legitimate businesses without fear of intimidation.
“We are reassuring everybody about the command’s commitment to collaborate with other security agencies to sustain adequate public security and safety in the state, in line with the mandate of ‘Operation Restore Peace’.
“The command warns anybody or group harbouring any sinister intentions to disrupt the relative peace and security enjoyed in the state to desist forthwith, as such attempt will be resisted,” the police spokesperson said.
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