Panic has enveloped some parts of the southeast following a four-day lockdown order issued by a faction of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
On Friday, sources told FIJ that they received a notice warning them to remain indoors from Monday, January 17, to Thursday, January 20.
The notice obtained by FIJ reads, “PLEASE TAKE NOTE AS YOU SCHEDULE YOUR ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT WEEK.
“Monday, 17th is routine sit-at-home. Tuesday, 18th, is sit-at-home (Nnamdi Kanu’s court date). Wednesday, 19th, is sit-at-home (Nnamdi Kanu’s court date), Thursday, 20th is sit-at-home (Nnamdi Kanu’s court date).
“For the sake of your safety, please take note of these days while setting your agenda for next week. Even, [if] IPOB later announces cancellation of sit-at-home on any of those days, don’t heed them because repeated events have shown that IPOB has lost control of what they started. Don’t even attempt to take your children to school. Remember what happened in Enugu and Ekwulobia on Monday.”
The warning references a shooting in Enugu, reported by FIJ on Monday, January 10.
Reacting to the notice, Emma Powerful, IPOB spokesman, told FIJ that the message was from “criminals and confused people dishing out false propaganda”.
He said IPOB would enforce a sit-at-home order on Tuesday, January 18, when Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the group, appears before Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court in Abuja for judgement.
Powerful called for calm, and urged all residents of southeastern states to go about their normal business on other days.
However, on Saturday morning, he raised the alarm over threats to his life, posed by one Ifeanyi Nwawa, who “was recruiting fake ESN, causing problems for our people and enforcing nonexistent sit-at-home.”
When contacted, Nwawa told FIJ that he was committed to enforcing the sit-at-home order until Kanu’s release. He said he did not know Powerful and had never threatened him.
“I am not Boko Haram; I am not a terrorist. What we should be looking for is how to bring our brother [Kanu] out. Why are people bringing up stories?” He asked.
“I cannot threaten my brother. If we kill one another, who will be available to enjoy Biafra? If they kill me today, somebody else will continue the struggle. That is how freedom fighters are. What I want to hear now is that Kanu has been released.”
Nwawa refused to confirm if his ESN group would enforce the four-day sit-at-home order, but he said the group was committed to dying for the independence of Biafra.
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