The Nigeria Police Force, Ebonyi Command, on Wednesday in Abakaliki urged residents of Abakaliki to ignore the sit- at-home order by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra describing the order as unlawful.
The Command’s Police Public Relations Officer, Lovett Odah, told the News Agency of Nigeria that adequate security preparations had been put in place to secure lives and property of every citizen.
She urged residents of Abakaliki and every citizen of Ebonyi to go about their lawful and legitimate businesses, noting that the law would deal with anybody or group who tried to molest them.
Odah said: “The police authorities wish to urge the people of Ebonyi and Abakaliki residents in particular, to ignore the unlawful order from an unlawful terrorist organization.
“I want to remind members of the public, including the press, that IPOB remains proscribed, it is an illegal organization and they can never give order in Nigeria.
“The Ebonyi Police Command, under the Commissioner of Police, Titus Sumba-Lamorde, wants to assure residents of its readiness to deal with anybody or group who wants to forment crisis by forcing innocent law abiding citizens to comply with the unlawful order.
“The police wish to remind those out there to commit crime to relocate out of the state because there is no room for them and that the eagle eyes of the Police will catch up with them.”
She said that any member or members of IPOB caught forcing innocent Nigerians to obey the unlawful order would face immediate prosecution.
Meanwhile, there was a zero compliance by Abakaliki residents to the sit-at-home as government offices, shops, private and public schools, banks as well as commercial activities within the Abakaliki metropolis remained open and operational.
Two shop owners at the popular Abakpa Main Market in Abakaliki, Messrs Lawrence Obiekwena and Magnus Onwe in separate interviews, told NAN that they defied the order because the market officials said that it would not close for business.
They maintained that people should not be forced or intimidated to observe the sit-at-home order.
They said: “The sit-at-home is a non-violent form of agitation or protest and people should be allowed to voluntarily observe or participate in it and compliance should never be by coercion or intimidation.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Police and other security agencies are on surveillance patrol to forestall possible security breaches.
The Federal High Court in Abuja had proscribed IPOB all over Nigeria.
It also declared the pro-Biafra group a terrorist organisation, following an case filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation