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Governor of Ebonyi, David Umahi has asked residents of the state to ignore the sit-at-home order of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and protect themselves against molestation.
Umahi also warned that traders who comply with the sit-at-home order on Monday should be ready to forfeit their shops. Umahi issued the warning in a statewide broadcast on Saturday to mark the sixth anniversary of his administration.
IPOB had declared a sit-at-home in the south-east region from May 29 to 31. Owing to the fear of possible attacks, residents of Ebonyi were said to have rushed to the markets to stock up their homes amid plans to shut businesses in the state.
But Umahi directed that all markets, shops, and offices should open for business on Monday.
“There should be free movement of people in the state on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and other days of the year,” he said.
“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, Ebubeagu 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 a cutlass, which should be for protection and not for attack.”
Umahi said that all forms of procession have been banned in the state except those by youths organised by council chairmen.
“I charge the Ebubeagu security outfit, which is backed by the state laws, to ensure that the people are protected,” Umahi said.
“There will be movement in other parts of the country, so people should therefore ignore such order.”
He urged parents and relevant stakeholders to advise 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, Mohammed Aliyu, advised residents to disregard the IPOB order.
“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’,” he said.
“The command entreats parents, guardians as well as religious, traditional and town union leaders to caution their subjects against allowing themselves to be incited by mischief-makers to foment trouble.”