Biafra Campaign Day 2: MASSOB Shuts Down Igboland
P.M. News (Lagos)
August 26, 2004
Posted to the web August 26, 2004
-Markets Closed in Aba, Enugu, P/H, Onitsha
The declaration of civil disobedience of the Nigerian government, called by the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) to protest alleged marginalisation of Igbos, appeared this morning to have deeply taken root, if reports reaching PMNews from all parts of Eastern Nigeria are anything to go by.
The Ralph Uwazuruike-led MASSOB had urged "Biafrans" to stay indoors today to demonstrate "their anger in the face of intimidation, marginalisation and occupation of the Biafran territory by Nigeria for 37 years." PMNews correspondent in Port Harcourt reports that there was considerable response to the MASSOB directive in the city, as residents stayed indoors, while major markets in the city remained shut to business. Traffic was unusually light on the streets of the Garden City.
The Ikoku Spare Parts Market, the largest in the city, the Ojoto second-hard tyres market, as well as markets located along Ikwere Road, were shut by traders who preferred to stay indoors to monitor events. Importers of generating sets along Mile 3, as well as Mouka Foam dealers in Emenike also closed shop.
From Mile One to Rumuokuta, Waterline and Olu Obasanjo road, traffic was unusually light, as all the electronic shops in Mile 3 and Mile 1 areas of the city were closed.
Reports from Enugu, Awka (Anambra) Abakaliki (Ebonyi) Owerri (Imo) Aba (Abia) revealed that majority of Igbo traders in the towns complied with the MASSOB directive.
The largest market in Enugu, the Ogbete Main Market, was closed. There was, indeed no sign of trading activities there.
All the shops in Obiagwu Road, one of the busiest roads in Enugu, were closed. The situation was the same in New Haven and Edinburg roads.
Trading activities at many suburban markets in Abakpa-Nike and Emene were also suspended.
P.M.News gathered that there was a high degree of mobilisation by MASSOB. The leaders were sighted on okada with megaphones yesterday going round the city and appealing to residents to stay at home. Some of them, armed with pistols, were also seen on the streets this morning monitoring compliance and warning stubborn traders to close shop and go home.
Most civil servants could not go to work, as there were no vehicles on the roads.
Some policemen were also seen at some road intersections, but they made no attempt to stop MASSOB men going round the city.
In Anambra, Eke-Awka, the largest market in the state, was also shut. MASSOB members, it was learnt, held a meeting with the leaders of the market yesterday, where it was agreed that there would be no trading today.
Commercial motorcyclists who operated in the morning had, by noon, stopped operation.
All motor parks in the state were also deserted. Residents were seen gathering in groups discussing Biafra.
The largest market in Onitsha, Onitsha Main Market, was also shut. So were the bridgehead and Onitsha Relief markets.
Fierce-looking mobile policemen were seen at some check points in Onitsha and Awka, but they did not arrest anybody.
In Ebonyi, most markets were also shut, while motor parks were deserted. The state Commissioner of Police, PM News noted, had been calling on residents to disregard the MASSOB directive