4 people reported dead ,other casualties as IPOB enforced sit-at-home.

Four  persons were said to have been killed by the unknown gunmen in Aboh-Mbaise as IPOB enforcers  combed communities to enfocre the sit-at-home order .  There was shooting in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State by unknown gunmen from Banana junction up to Nkwito junction yesterday.

The incident occurred at about  01:30 pm which forced residents to take cover in their various houses as motorists completely avoided Orlu main town.

Vanguard gathered that the problem started when the unknown gunmen  were  moving to some places within and outside the Orlu Local Government Area of the state to enforce the sit-at-home order.

The armed men were also said to have set ablaze a  house in Isiala-Amadim village at Amaifeke in Orlu Local Government Area of the state.

The gunmen moved to Mbaise axis where they set ablaze two commercial buses at Ngwogwu in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State at about 08:30am.

It was gathered that one of the buses was heading to Umuahia and the other one to Owerri when they were attacked.

The two buses were completely burnt, while some  other buses were asked to return to Owerri.

An eyewitness told Vanguard:  “Two persons inside one of the buses were burnt to death and a passenger was shot dead. A driver of one of the buses was killed.

”This incident happened this  morning and as I am talking to you now, there is no movement, not even a bus. People are in their houses now.

“We are living in fear now. These unknown gunmen are giving us trouble. Is this how we will get this thing that we are looking for?”

When Vanguard contacted Imo State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mike Abatam, he said the Police had commenced investigations into reports of violence and burning of buses.

Owerri locked down

Owerri, Imo State capital, was yesterday, shutdown completely in full compliance with the sit-at-home order issued by the leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

When Vanguard moved around the commercial centres in the municipality, including Douglas Road, Tetlow Road, Royce Road, School Road, Old Market Road, Mbaise Road, Christ Church Road, Njemanze Street and Ekeonunwa Street, it was discovered that all the shop  owners did not display their wares.

The story was the same in the ever busy Rotobi Street which houses all the national newspapers.

A newspaper sales representative, who spoke on strict grounds of anonymity, told Vanguard: “While the newspaper offices were open for business, some of the papers were yet to arrive Owerri, as at 1.28pm.

”Only about six vendors braved it to Rotobi Street  to collect the day’s paper. In my view, the sit-at-home order was effectively observed in Owerri.”

Reacting also, the owner of a busy pharmacy along Wetheral Road (name withheld), said: “I am not an IPOB loyalist but there is no point taking a costly chance. Not opening for business today (yesterday), will not diminish what I have strived to build over the years. I have chosen to play safe.”

Similarly, all the big names in the transport sector of the economy did not load their vehicles for any  trip within or outside Imo State.

All the recognized and illegal motor parks in Owerri, were similarly shut, as Vanguard did not sight any commuter vehicle in them.

A visit to the Federal and State Secretariat Complexes, along Port Harcourt Road, Owerri, showed that only a handful of civil servants were seen at their desks.

2 shot dead in soldiers clash with civilians in Nnewi

In Nnewi, the industrial city of Anambra State, all the markets, street shops, business houses, industries and banks were all closed for business as residents and traders deserted the roads following the bloody clash that erupted at about 9am in the city.

The sit-at-home got bloody in Nnewi with two people losing their lives in a confrontation between the Army and suspected members of IPOB.

The two people who died during the bloody confrontation that happened at Izuchukwu junction area of Nnewi roundabout, according to an eyewitness, were alleged to be a leader of IPOB and a commercial motorcyclist.

Vanguard gathered that the problem started at about 7.00am when some IPOB members allegedly came out to enforce the order and in the process, blocked major roads in the industrial town.

Some unidentified soldiers were said to have rushed to the  area to clear the items used to block the roads and in the process, an altercation ensued between them and the IPOB members, making  the soldiers to fire at the motorcyclist and the IPOB member after which the soldiers quickly took off.

However, another source told Vanguard that the two people killed were commercial motorcyclists who came out for brisk business but were sighted near the blockade  put on the road and  the soldiers started questioning them  why the road was blocked and following hot  exchange of words, they were shot by the soldiers who hurriedly left  the scene.

Meanwhile, the industrial town was reduced to a ghost town after the incident as the people who initially came  out to survey the level of compliance rushed back home to save their lives.

Some vehicles were also smashed by aggrieved persons over the attack on the civilians by armed soldiers.

However,  in what was speculated to be a reprisal attack following the  killing of the two persons by unidentified soldiers in Nnewi, the Police Area Command Nnewi yesterday afternoon, came under a heavy attack. The attack of the Police Area Command caused pandemonium amongst the residents of the industrial town.

Vanguard gathered that the unknown gunmen went to the Police  station in seven vehicles and started shooting sporadically, an exercise that lasted for over one hour.

Another source told Vanguard that the gunmen overpowered the Police men and carted away their arms, adding that the attacking gunmen had left before reinforcement from other security agencies arrived the Area Command.

There was no information yet on the number of casualties, but sources revealed that with the level of sporadic shootings there, it would only take the grace of God not to have any casualty in the attack.

While  some people  speculated  that four Policeman were killed, a security operative close to the police command in the area said that nobody was killed but weapons were carted away by the hoodlums.

The Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr Tochukwu  Ikenga, when contacted at press time yesterday, said his office had not  received the report on the attack.

Total compliance in Onitsha

Business activities, schools, markets and street shops in Onitsha and Nnewi were under lock and key, while the ever busy roads were deserted by residents.

The ever busy and gridlock prone Niger Bridge was a ghost of itself.  Both Onitsha and Asaba, the Delta State capital ends were completely deserted just as the two pedestrian crossing  of both sides of the bridge were completely deserted.

The  ever busy Onitsha/ Enugu expressway from Niger Bridge Head area of Onitsha to Upper Iweka through Army Barracks to Zik’s roundabout, to Nkpor and old Ogbunike tollgate, were completely deserted by residents as no private cars, commercial buses and tricycles were sighted along the areas.

All the markets in Onitsha including the popular and and highly populated Onitsha Main Market, Ochanja Central Market, Bridge Head Medicine Market, popularly known as Ogbo Ogwu and the Bridge Head Market housing over 28 autonomous markets were all shut for business. Popular Onitsha food market, Ose Okwodu and Coca-Cola market located along Onitsha Enugu expressway and Relief Market Okpoko were all shut from business activities.

The popular Provision Market, the Relief Market, located opposite Upper Iweka Fly over, Electronics International Market, along Enugu Onitsha expressway opposite Premier Breweries, the New Auto Spare Parts and New Tyre Market all located in Nkpor and the Building Materials International Market Ogidi; Concessionaires and Bakery Market located opposite it were also closed for business and the perennial traffic hold-up in the area disappeared.

Other markets and small scale industries, like Osakwe Industrial Cluster, where plastic and waterproof materials are produced and the old  Motor Spare Parts Markets, popularly known as Ngbuka Obosi Market, were all shut down  in compliance to the sit-at-home directed by IPOB.

All banks located within Onitsha, its environs and suburbs and the ones  located near all the popular and small markets in the commercial city, including those located in Awada, Obosi, Nkpor, New Market and Old Market roads in Onitsha, were all closed for business contrary to their earlier plan to open for business following the Anambra State government’s directive that workers in the state must report to work.

Civil servants reported to work around noon in Awka

In Awka, the sit-at-home order  was observed in the major cities during the morning hours but ended around noon.

Shops started opening in Awka when they observed that there were no IPOB members harassing people although the Awka main market did not open for business until afternoon.