There were protests yesterday in Abuja, Anambra and Abia state ahead of the failed resumption of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
In Abuja, IPOB members protested in front of the Federal High Court.
After the matter was adjourned, they gathered in front of the court, demanding to know their leader’s whereabouts.
Kanu’s supporters sang and danced to solidarity songs. Fists pumping, they sang: “Holy, holy, holy, Nnamdi Kanu is another saviour!”
It was learnt that the Department of State Services (DSS) arrested some of the proscribed group’s members at the court premises.
Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore, and other youths were also arrested during the protest, which they said, was in solidarity with Kanu.
A few hours later, Sowore said: “They have just released us. They dragged, harassed and beat us.
“They took us to the Federal Secretariat Police Station. I told them that they have no right to arrest me.
“I have a right to observe the trial of Nnamdi Kanu. They took our cards and deleted all recordings.”
The Coalition of Civil Society condemned the arrest of Sowore and others.
In Anambra, commuters moving in and out of Onitsha were stranded following partial restriction of vehicular movement within major roads in the commercial city.
Commercial buses plying the Awka-Onitsha route suspended operations for fear of being trapped as videos of bonfires at the popular Upper Iweka and other strategic areas of the town went viral.
Some motorists took advantage of the development to exploit passengers.
While some charged N500 rather than N300 from Awka to Onitsha, others charged N600.
Shops, markets and offices were shut while some major streets were deserted.
One of the commuters, a civil servant, who simply identified himself as Oliver, wondered why a court matter going on in Abuja would impact people in Anambra.
Oliver, who resides in Onitsha, but works in Awka, said he returned home after he could not make it to work.
“I can’t understand our people. Why don’t they vent their anger on those in Abuja than transferring the aggression on innocent people like us? I better go home and rest than risk my life for no just cause,” he said.
Another passenger, Regina Anene, who was travelling to Onitsha from Awka, said she had to disembark immediately after the driver announced where the journey would terminate.
“Thank God the driver informed us on time where he would stop. I wonder how I would have trekked that long distance to reach my destination. It would have been frustrating,” she said.
Banks, markets and shops were shut over Kanu.
It was learnt that IPOB placed a no-movement order in the state.
The closure affected mainly markets in the commercial cities of Nnewi, Ekwulobia and Onitsha.
His followers blocked all the major roads in the commercial cities and made bonfires.
Mr Boniface Nwankwo, a trader in Onitsha, said members of IPOB started making bonfires as early as 6.30 am and urging people not to open shops as a mark of respect for their leader.
In Abia, business and commercial activities were grounded in Aba as IPOB’s threat forced traders to stay away.
It was learnt that some IPOB members went round various markets at the weekend to warn traders to stay away from their shops yesterday.
Some residents of Aba slammed the DSS for not producing Kanu in court.
An Aba lawyer and activist, Emperor Ogbonna, said: “The DSS were in court on the day this case came up and the case was adjourned.
“So, the DSS cannot say that they were not aware that the case was to come up.”
The DSS was silent on why Kanu was not produced.
Its spokesman, Dr Peter Afunanya, did not pick calls.
He stated in a text message: “The matter has been adjourned to October.”
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