Ghost Town Mondays in South East Nigeria!

Nigeria | Ghost Town | 22nd September 2021 | Virtual Wire


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For one solid month now, states in the South-East geopolitical zone of Nigeria have been observing a Sit -At -Home order that was issued by the leadership of IPOB.

IPOB is an umbrella body that covers the Indigenous People of Biafra, a group that is agitating for a total restructuring of the country to ensure that every Nigerian enjoys equal rights irrespective of their tribe, political party or region; and to enable resources to circulate among various regions.

The leader of IPOB Nnamdi Kanu, a former real estate agent in London who was born on 25th September 1967 at Isiama Afara Ukwu Umuahia to the royal family of Eze Israel Okwu Kanu (JP) and his mother Ugoeze Nnenne Kanu, whose primary education was at Library Avenue Primary School and later Government College Umuahia for his secondary education after which he went to University of Nigeria, Nsukka and then moved to the UK before graduating. He holds dual citizenship with Nigeria and Britain.

His main aim in creating IPOB is to use it as a body that will push for the creation of an independent state through a referendum for the people of the old Eastern Region of Nigeria formally known as Biafra before the amalgamation of 1914. Kanu is the director of a UK registered radio station named Radio Biafra. He was arrested on treason charges in Lagos Nigeria on October 14th 2015 and was detained for more than a year by the federal government despite various court orders that ruled for his release.

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While in court, Kanu was seen regularly wearing a Jewish prayer shawl and head covering. He once said in court that he "believes in Judaism" and considers himself a Jew and oftentimes has led his Biafran people to various Jewish prayers and religious observations.

On 28 April 2017, Kanu was released from prison on bail and he returned to his parental home in Afara Ukwu where he managed to escape to London after his home was ambushed by men of the Nigerian military and dozens killed on Sept. 12, 2017, a day before he was supposed to appear in court.

He has since then been seen praying in synagogues and the wailing wall in Israel, where he stayed for a short time after his escape before returning to London. His illegal extradition took place in Kenya on 29th June 2021. Among the demands for the continued fracas between the Nigerian Federal government and the Indigenous people of Biafra are the upgrading and reopening of all the seaports in the East namely Port Harcourt seaport, Calabar Seaport, and Warri seaport, dredging of the River Niger, allowing the operation of international flights to Europe from airports in the East, and finally allowing the East to be an independent state.

His illegal arrest and extradition was the reason for the sit-at-home protest which has crippled economic activities in not just the East, but the country at large. The members stated that since they can not openly demonstrate for his release without attracting the fury of the federal government who has been accused of using the military to silence opposition. They cited the shooting in Lekki Tollgate where the army opened fire on unarmed protesters and killed many while many were injured.

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They, not willing to lose any of their members have therefore resorted to sitting peacefully in their houses without going to work on Mondays. Some private institutions claimed that they were written to and warned not to operate on Mondays. Others are of the view that there are masked men who move from street to street taking note of happenings within the neighbourhood.

In some states, the governours have tried to coerce the masses to disregard the sit-at-home order tagged "Ghost Town Monday" without success. The Anambra state governor on one occasion led a procession to some markets, banks and motor parks, encouraging the citizens to disregard the order, yet it appears that the majority of the people have voluntarily decided to show empathy to the embattled IPOB leader and the plights of the Easterners even at their own detriment as they abandon their means of livelihood every Monday.

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Today, after the reported call off of the Ghost Town Monday by the leadership of IPOB, some people are seen in some areas of different states in the East going about their various businesses while most areas are still under lock and key. The states that have been observing this directive either fully or partially are Enugu, Abia, Imo, Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Calabar and Port Harcourt.

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