Therefore, the battle line is drawn between the security agencies and the proscribed group….
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the police are on the verge of a showdown over the sit-at-home order issued by the leader of the proscribed group, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, to mark the anniversary of the Biafra Republic Remembrance Day.
The celebration, which holds on May 30 every year and was supposed to be held today, was shifted to Monday, May 31, to avoid any conflict with the Christian worshippers and to prove that the directive of the embattled leader of the group is obeyed.
The South-East and South-South police had assured the people of the security of lives and property but warned that whoever breached relative peace, law and order in the wake of the audacious order should first write his or her will.
Therefore, the battle line is drawn between the security agencies and the proscribed group.
Checks by Daily Trust at the weekend indicated that there is palpable tension and anxiety among residents in some parts of the affected states, such as Anambra, Abia, Imo, Ebonyi and Enugu, as well as Delta, Rivers and Akwa Ibom.
While the echoes of the dreadful order are already around in some states and taking a toll on their socio-economic activities as some residents heeded the directive at the weekend, normal businesses went on in other states as though nothing was in the offing.
Owerri residents obey sit-at-home order
Despite assurances of safety given to them by the Imo State Government, residents of Owerri, the Imo State capital, on Saturday, obeyed the order.
Consequently, economic and social activities in the city and its environs were grounded as shops, malls, supermarkets and markets remained closed. Roads were also empty as motorists and pedestrians stayed off the streets.
Some residents who dared to step out were stranded as many of them were unable to reach their destinations nor could find vehicles to go back home.
They also bemoaned the rampant arrests and detention of citizens by security agents, saying it is deterring them from pursuing legitimate means of livelihood.
Many of those who spoke to our correspondent at the weekend said though the sit-at-home order was to take effect on Monday, they decided to stay indoors because of rampant shooting and indiscriminate arrests by the police.
“People are afraid of being arrested for no just cause. Because of the situation at hand, everyone is tagged an IPOB or Eastern Security Network (ESN) member.
“An incident happened at Ogbo Oshishi Timber Market where a boy helping his mother to sell food was arrested, along with people eating in the makeshift restaurant.
“When the woman pleaded for her son, the policeman slapped her, a resident said.’’
Another resident of Naze, Ndukwe, lamented that some soldiers and Air Force personnel blocked the Aba-Owerri road, shooting sporadically.
Residents shun order in Ebonyi
Residents in Ebonyi State shunned the order on Saturday. Daily Trust gathered that markets, hotels, the Abakaliki Rice Mill, motor parks and shops opened for business. Taxi, keke and motorbike transporters also operated.
Army blocks Onitsha bridge to protest killing of soldiers
Military personnel on Saturday blocked the Onitsha bridge, following the killing of military men in Ihiala, Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State by people suspected to be members of the IPOB.
Daily Trust gathered that early Saturday morning, about five military men were shot dead in Ihiala by gunmen suspected to be members of the IPOB.
When contacted, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, the police public relations officer, Anambra State Command, said the early morning gridlock at the bridge was as a result of stringent checks by security operatives.
Measure meant to track hoodlums.
Meanwhile, the sit-at-home directive was not effective in Awka, the state capital, as people were seen going about their normal businesses.
Residents went about their normal businesses without any molestation by anybody or group immediately after the state’s monthly sanitation exercise.
A resident, Mr Mike Uche, said he heard about the sit-at-home order, but nobody observed it on Saturday.
However, newspaper vendors in Awka and Anambra decried the stoppage of vehicles conveying newspapers from Lagos to the state at the Niger bridge.
Miss Nneka Okoye, a vendor at Aroma junction, Awka, said the situation hampered their business.
“We are surprised to face this kind of problem this morning. As you can see, there is no Saturday paper on display here now.
“The distributors told us that the vehicles carrying newspapers were stopped at the Onitsha bridge because of the issues the military had with people in Ihiala,” Okoye said.
Apart from vehicles carrying newspapers, others were also blocked from moving in and out of Onitsha in the early hours of Saturday.
We’re battle-ready – Rivers police
The Rivers State police command has advised residents of the state to ignore the sit-at-home order. It warned that the command was battle-ready to deal with any person or group of persons that want to break down law and order.
The command’s public relations officer, SP Nnmadi Omoni, in a press statement issued in Port Harcourt, noted that they were aware of the sit-at-home order.
Omoni added that the command viewed the statement as unlawful and had decided to allay the palpable fears occasioned by the phantom order.
He added that the commissioner of police in the state, CP Eboka, reassured the residents that adequate security measures had been put in place to ensure that they go about their lawful businesses unhindered, unmolested and in a conducive atmosphere.
No compliance in Enugu, Umuahia, Aba
From Idaw River to Uwani in Enugu South Local Government Area, to Coal Camp, New Market, to Edinburgh Road, Ogui Road, where Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium is located in Enugu North Local Government Area, to New Haven, Independence Layout, Garki and other places, people were seen moving about their normal businesses without fear. Traders opened shops in several markets.
“Ordinarily, a newcomer in Enugu may think that people not moving about in the early hours of Saturday indicated compliance, but in fact, residents of the town are simply complying with the monthly sanitation programme of the Enugu State Government.
“Therefore, there is nothing like sit-at-home order,” said Mr Ikenna Anichukwu, a teacher and resident of Obiagu Road.
Another resident, Mr Kenechi Amah, a taxi driver at New Haven and Garki, said that as far as Enugu State was concerned, nobody was interested in observing any sit-at-home order.
“I am a trader here at Ogbette Market. You can see that the market is full of activities. If you go to Kenyata, Abakpa, Timba, Garki and New Market, you would notice that trading activities are going on.
“Nobody is closing his shop in compliance with any sit-at-home order,” a trader at Ogbette Main Market, Fred Mbachu, said.
Also, normal commercial and social activities went on smoothly on Friday in Umuahia and Aba in Abia State.
Tricycle operators, business owners, timber market, commercial bus drivers, all the inter-state motor parks, were fully operational without obstruction.
However, the military started patrolling the streets of Umuahia and Aba as early as 6 am. No sign of the IPOB was noticed in the cities as of the time of this report.
Meanwhile, there are restrictions in human and vehicle movements as a result of the curfew imposed on the state by the government from 8 pm till 6 am as part of security measures adopted by the state government.
The Abia State Command of the Nigeria Police Force has called on citizens and residents in the state to ignore the order.
Recall that the group had issued a sit-at-home order between Saturday, May 29 and Tuesday, June 1, 2021.
The command, in a statement, urged the public to go about their normal businesses without any fear of harassment.
They assured members of the public that the Force, in collaboration with sister agencies, would guarantee the safety of lives and property of residents.
The command further advised parents and guardians to warn their children and wards to stay away from acts capable of causing a breach of security in the state.
We’ll not ban Almajiri qur’anic education, but reform it — Gov. Tambuwal
Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has said the state government was targeting the remodelling of the Qur’anic education system and not banning it.
Tambuwal stated this on Saturday at the closing of a two-day workshop for the adaptation of the Indonesian Pondok system into the Almajiri-Islamiyya educational system in the state.
He expressed government’s determination to ensure that the initiative was implemented to the letter, stressing that any recognisable success of the system would upgrade and improve the state’s educational system.
He said: “We are not aiming to ban the Almajiri qur’anic education system as some people have urged the Sokoto State Government to emulate other states.
“We are striving to provide reasonable solutions to the challenges and with the present initiative the time has come.”
Tambuwal assured of full implementation of the suggestions made by resource persons and the design of a programme that would surely be a solution to the educational challenges, especially bridging the gap of out of school children.
In his remarks, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, urged the Federal Government and its agencies, including the Universal Basic Education Commission, to consider making financial provisions to the Almajiri qur’anic educational system.
Abubakar noted that when the implementation of the initiative begins, the out of school children figure will drop as well as curtail those roaming the streets.
The Sultan urged others states to emulate Sokoto state on the initiative, in recognition of its importance and suitability to Nigerian’s system of education.
The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Social Investment Programmes, Maryam Uwais, expressed delight at the initiative as it was in line with the President’s efforts at reducing poverty and empowering Nigerians.
Uwais said: “The huge numbers of marginalised youths and children, who have no education, school dropouts who have no skills, have contributed to the dismal outcomes of security challenges.
“The challenges also include females who faced incidence of gender based violence, along with cases of early marriages arising from lack of education, which leads to diminished opportunities.”
She noted that the Pandok system focuses on character development and addressing socioeconomic challenges that children faced, as well as improving educational levels which were all aligned with Sustainable Development Goals.
Uwais added that her office was working towards empowering between 30 to 50 youths in all the local government councils, to supervise and monitor others on valuable skills to be acquired, through various initiatives.
Earlier, the Executive Director, Sokoto State Arabic and Islamic Education Board, Alhaji Umar Altine, said based on the study conducted, the Pandok system of education in Indonesia were owned and managed by individuals or communities, regulated and assisted by the federal ministry of religious affairs.
Altine said the major sources of sustainability were Endowments (Waqf) and Alumni, noting that based on advocacy and sensitisation by the board, six Qur’anic schools had adopted the model.
In her presentation, UNICEF Education Specialist, Sokoto Field Office, Dr. Safiyya Tahir, said that no fewer than 1.2 million children were out of school in Sokoto State, noting that early children development centres were mostly owned by private schools, with only a small percentage owned by public schools.
Tahir said the Pandok system would be relevant to the culture of Sokoto people because they shared similarities with the Indonesians as many families prepared their children for enrolment in religious schools in early life.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that several resource persons made presentations at the occasion, including Dr. Bala Muhammad of the Mass Communication Department, Bayero University, Kano, and Prof. Abdullahi Sule-Kano of the Political Science Department, BUK.
Others were: Prof. Maryam Koko of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto; Prof. Suleiman Khalil, Sociology Department in UDUS; Prof. Bashir Galadanci; and Prof. Muhammad Junaid.
The Eagle Online
Resident Doctors Vote to Continue Indefinite Strike
Striking resident doctors in the country have resolved to sustain their ongoing industrial action until their demands are met by the federal government.
The strike by members of the National Association Resident Doctors (NARD) has entered its seventh week, with their parent body, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), also threatening to embark on solidarity strike if the dispute is not resolved by next weekend.
The resident doctors are demanding payment of arrears of salaries of their members on GIFMIS platform as well as approval of new hazard allowance for the health sector, among other demands.
Rising from its Annual General Meeting (AGM) that ended yesterday at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi State, NARD said that it had unanimously resolved by vote to continue the total and indefinite strike action.
A new national leadership also emerged at the meeting with Dr Dare Godiya Ishaya as the new president of NARD.
NARD said that: “After critical appraisal of the performances of both federal and state governments on all the issues that led to the ongoing strike as stated above, the AGM unanimously resolved by vote to continue the total and indefinite strike action until our minimum demands are met”.
In a communiqué jointly signed by NARD President, Dr. Dare Godiya Ishaya; Secretary General, Dr. Suleiman Abiodun Ismai; and National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Alfa Yusuf, the doctors said that federal government should ensure that their demands are urgently met before normalcy would return to the health sector
The resident doctors said they are demanding the payment of the Medical Residency Training allowance within 72 hours since the money meant for it is available and verification of the list for payment has been completed.
They also demanded payment of the arrears of salaries of their members on GIFMIS platform within 72 hours while the migration process continues.
Other demands of the Resident doctors include: “Withdrawal of the case against us in court in the interest of peace; and payment of our withheld August and September salaries”.
NARD said that federal government should prevail on various state governments to urgently “pay arrears of salaries and allowances owed our members in the state tertiary health institutions as stated above”.
In the communiqué, NARD said they were committed to the smooth running of the health sector, but can only do so when their welfare is given the desired attention.
“We, therefore, call on all well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the government to set aside all technicalities as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari and resolve the aforementioned demands in the interest of the masses and our members who are currently suffering because of the ongoing strike action,” it said.
Earlier during the AGM, the doctors bemoaned the delay in payment of death-in-service insurance benefit to the next-of-kin of the fallen heroes despite their sacrifices to the country.
They expressed concerns over the conditions of their members under different state governments’ employs, especially Abia, Imo, Ekiti and Ondo states, where their members are being owed 20 months, six months, four months and four months’ salary arrears, respectively.
They meeting also observed with serious concerns the poor response of most state governments in domesticating the Medical Residency Training Act of 2017 while commending states like Delta and Benue for adopting the law.
In particular, NARD expressed appreciation to the governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, who has paid its members the 2021 MRTF during the ongoing strike.
The meeting lamented the acute manpower shortage in most tertiary health institutions and the attendant burnout effects on its members.
The communiqué said that NARD observed with serious concerns that despite several meetings with the presidential committee on salaries and other top government stakeholders on the review of hazard allowance for health workers, the hazard allowance still remains a paltry N5,000.
It also noted the non-payment of COVID-19 inducement allowance to some of the members in federal and most of its members in state tertiary institutions.
Onyebuchi Ezigbo, Thisday News
BREAKING: IPOB orders sit-at-home on October 1, removal of all Nigerian flags from southeast
The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has declared a sit-at-home across the Southeast on October 1.
IPOB said the October 1 sit-at-home is to show its rejection of Nigeria and all the country stands for.
In a statement by its spokesman on Saturday, Emma Powerful, the group also declared the commencement of “operation no Nigerian flag begins in Biafra land from October 1st.”
Powerful said the sit-at-home order was declared to celebrate Ambazonia Independence Anniversary.
The statement reads partly: “IPOB has declared 1st of October 2021 total shutdown in Biafra land as a sign of our rejection of the evil construct called Nigeria and there shall be no movement in Biafra land on this day.
“Also, IPOB has declared from today 25th September 2021 that all Nigerian flag mounted anywhere in Biafra land must be brought down, Banks exceptional, IPOB leadership will communicate to Banks directly and give them reason they must peacefully bring down Nigeria flag in their banking premises before we do it ourselves in our own way.
“Every body must strictly adhere to this directives from IPOB leadership, we want to let the world know you that Biafraland is not Nigeria and shall not be. Don’t say I don’t know, a word is enough for the wise.”
Seun Opejobi, Daily Post
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