Residents and traders in Owerri, the Imo State capital on Monday defied the ongoing call for continued Monday sit-at-home by a faction of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to open for business.
It was not the same in Abia as many government workers and business owners continued to stay awy from their offices and shops.
Checks within Aba and Umuahia reveal that residents of the two cities stayed away from their shops and work places.
Motor parks that tried opening for business recorded low patronage as there were few passengers on the road.
Local government workers stayed away from their respective offices despite the state government’s directives for workers to be at their work places.
Banks and other financial institutions stayed away from their work environments as only those with Automated Teller Machines (ATM) had few customers that came to make withdrawals.
A financial expert and former Economic Adviser to Abia State government, Chief Agu Ojukwu has expressed worries over the dangers Abia State and Southeast may face as a result of the continued sit-at-home protest by pro-biafra agitators.
Ojukwu in a telephone interview with our correspondent feared possible relocation of businesses from the Southeast by business owners who may see the continued sit-at-home as a potential danger to their business.
According to the former Economic Adviser, “any business is shutdown in Aba, the state will be losing nothing less than N2billion.
“This doesn’t include revenue coming from other sources.
“What Southeast loses on each sit-at-home day cannot be calculated.
“We all knew what happened during the Osisikankwu saga; where businesses relocated out of Aba.
“The danger in the continued sit-at-home is that a lot of persons who are calling for continued Monday sit-at-home do not have serious business in Aba, Abia or southeast.
“Those with serious business are not happy with what is happening and what it means is that, they will relocate their business outside Aba, Abia or southeast to another place where there won’t be sit-at-home.
“Some of the persons coming to Aba or southeast will look for elsewhere to be doing their business on Monday.
“For governors of other zone, it is to see this as an opportunity to improve the economy of their states by ensuring that the state have what drives people to the southeast.
“I am sure that there are people including shoe makers who are not finding it funny with the every Monday sit-at-home and are willing to go to elsewhere to establish their business.
“Those in Lagos backing what is happening in the southeast on Monday, do they close their shops on Monday’s? The answer is obvious No.
“If we don’t want to lose the few strong businesses that we have in the southeast, it is time we have a rethink.”
Meanwhile, unconfirmed information has it that some students writing their English examination missed their exams as a result of the sit-at-home, with many parents fearing for the safety of their kids.
Others were said to have missed the West African Examination because of the distance of their homes to their respective centers.
Some parents were however, said to have begged their loved ones or parents whose houses were close to their ward’s examination venues, to allow their children sleep in their houses so as to enable them have the opportunity to write the examination with their peers.
It was gathered that some parents became apprehensive when the news that motorcycles belonging to students writing the WAEC examination were burnt after their attackers alleged to be members of the Eastern Security Network attacked their school.
Until the time of filing the report, there was no news of any attack of students in Abia State by any group of persons.
While few vehicles were seen on the roads, some businesses, fast-food centres, artisans, street/road side traders, super markets and mobile food vendors operated freely better than last Monday when streets and roads were deserted.
Although businesses at the major markets were not at its peak, a reasonable percentage of buying and selling went on in virtually all the local government areas of the state just as Okada riders ferried passengers to their various destinations unhindered.
At Wetheral, Douglas, Tetlow, Onitsha, Port Harcourt, Okigwe, Mbaise, Aba and Orlu roads, vehicles were seen plying the roads just as intra and inter-city bus services were available for commuters.
“If our security agencies have shown the slightest sign that they are capable of protecting the people, many citizens will defy these sit-at-home orders.
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“It is becoming rampant and frivolous. I trust the Igbo man, just a matter of time, it will lose steam and public sympathy and the people will defy it. In the meantime, let the security agencies shown some capacity,” a resident of Owerri said.