The commercial city of Onitsha in Anambra State was temporarily shut down yesterday as more than 1, 000 members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, staged a peaceful demonstration to rehearse for their proposed June 8 sit-at-home order. Commercial activities were paralysed even as vehicular movements were restricted for some hours as the group prepares for the day.
To ensure the success and active participation of all Ndigbo at home and in the Diaspora in the exercise, the group, led by their Onitsha Region 4 Administrator, Chief Arinze Igbani, stormed the city as early as 12.00 noon to carry out the exercise which took place simultaneously in five major local government areas of the state, including Idemili North, Idemili South, Onitsha North, Onitsha South and Ogbaru.
The demonstrators had as early as 8.00am, converged on Oba, Idemili South Local Government Area, from where they touched Awada, Idemili North, Onitsha North and South and finally ended the sensitisation peace match at Ogboefere Market in Ogbaru Local Government Area of the state at about 2.00pm.
Addressing journalists on arrival at the General Post Office along the Old Market Road Onitsha, the leader of the group, Igbani said the need to create awareness has become expedient in view of the ‘I don’t care’ attitude of the people, warning that whoever flouts the order would be seen as not being a true son of Igbo.
He urged those wedding on that date to postpone it, including traders, civil servants and institutions as the date has been earmarked to honour fallen Igbo heroes and those massacred in the northern parts of the country by the dreaded Islamic religious sect, Boko Haram.
His words: “We are here today to spread the news that on June 8, 2013 all should be at home in memory of those six Igbo traders killed by the police at Apo Village in Abuja.
“The day is also to honour all those killed by the Boko Haram sect and those killed and dumped at Ezu River in Amansea. The sit-at-home order is not to honour Uwazuruike, but for those Igbo killed in various circumstances in the country.
“I was myself arrested and tortured by soldiers while nursing my injury at a medical home. But this is to show you that Ndigbo have been marginalised and classified as second class citizens in a country in which they are part of, he said.”