Residents, schools, trade organizations, labor unions, and others in Anambra State boycotted the 61st anniversary of Nigeria’s independence on Friday due to IPOB’s October 1st sit-in order FastNews report.
According to Tribune Online, arrangements were made to conduct the country’s 61st-anniversary celebration in Ekwueme Square Awka on Thursday, but due to the IPOB order, no one celebrant turned up, except security officers who were assigned to monitor the location.
Despite the fact that the site was elaborately adorned with Nigerian flags and a platform for Governor Willie Obiano to take a salute, no one showed up, including the governor.
Only highly armed police personnel and armored vehicles stationed to provide security for the event were seen at the location.
The anniversary celebration boycott is not unrelated to the appeal by the Indigenous Residents of Biafra (IPOB) for people in Nigeria’s southeast to stay at home on the day of the commemoration.
This is further reinforced by the spate of killings in the state as witnessed since last Saturday, up till Thursday in the state.
Many innocent people including, Dr. Chike Akunyili, husband of former information minister, Late Prof Dora Akunyili have lost their lives.
A police station was also attacked and burnt, leaving policemen dead, political parties branded burnt, while many other people sustained bullet wounds.
As of the time of leaving Ekwueme Square, organizers of the program had started dismantling the public address system, and other equipment originally provided for the event, giving the indication that the event would no longer hold for the fear of the unknown.
Onitsha, the commercial city, and Nnewi the industrial town of the state, recorded total compliance with the order.
All markets in the two Anambra business towns were shut down as people deserted the streets.
Even small streets markets known for selling foodstuff and materials located within Onitsha, which used to transact business on public holidays were all shut down in Onitsha and Nnewi.
There were no vehicular and human movements, the way it used to be on Monday’s weekly sit-at-home, which IPOB had suspended but still being observed, but people chose to sit in their home.
All filling stations in Onitsha and Nnewi were under lock and key.
The River Niger Bridge which witnesses daily traffic jams was a ghost of itself as no single vehicle was seen on the bridge, while nobody, particularly pedestrians who use the pedestrian walkway on the bridge, was seen on the bridgehead.
Newspaper vendors who sell papers even on Sundays were nowhere to be found as they all stayed at home in compliance with the IPOB sit-at-home.
A resident of Onitsha who spoke to Tribune Online said that since people had been complying with the IPOB sit-at-home, he had never seen anyone that had the kind of total compliance, as the October 1 order.
Small children and youths turned the streets and road in Onitsha, to football playing grounds, while parents were seen in different streets buildings and those facing the major roads, relaxing in their homes.
There was no presence of any security agents, on the roads, or at their checkpoints or their usual roadblocks, particularly, the Police. Army and Navy.
However, five Army vehicles loaded with soldiers were seen at Atani Road junction, by Onitsha Enugu expressway, heading towards the Niger Bridge to Asaba, apparently escorting a senior officer to catch a flight in Asaba.
Tribune Online also gathered that the Nigerian Flag was only seen at the State Government House Awka, Hotels, the Police Command, and other security arenas in the state.