No fewer than 20,000.members and sympathizers of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Thursday shot down commercial and marketing activities in Onitsha, the commercial city of Anambra State, and its environs, like Obosi and Nkpor to protest, and in solidarity for the release of the incarcerated Director of Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.
Vehicular movements were as usual grounded by the intimidating number of the IPOB members and their sympathizers who marched from the Niger Bridge Head to the former Ogbunike Toll Gate to register their banger against the continued detention of Mr. Kanu.
What some people termed as the blocking of the River Niger Bridge by the was actually the crowd of IPOB members and their sympathizers who marched along the area and disrupted vehicular movements for over seven Hours before normalcy was restore on the bridge after they left the area for other parts of Onitsha.
The attempt by the military to disperse them failed because of their number and their resort to non violence, and the Military showed professionalism that has never been witnessed in Onitsha, under similar situation as they, carefully implored them to free the road for other users,
Onitsha Owerri road was not free from the disruption of vehicular movements by the protesting IPOB members who also marched the area thereby making movement by into and exit of Onitsha difficult for all the road users including those on foot.
The crowd was so intimidating that some street markets and markets located along the road including Bridge Head Market, Onitsha Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers Market Ochanja Market all in Onitsha, New Auto Spare Parts Market and New Tire Market Nkpor, Building Material Market Ogidi and bakery Market also in Ogidi either closed shops with traders hanging around to attend sharply to their customers that were equally trapped as a result of the protest.
Almost all the shops located along New Market Road, especially where house interior decoration materials were shut down, even when the protesting IPOB members did not pass through the popular Old and New Market Roads that leads to the Onitsha Main Market, and when Vanguard sort to know why they closed their shops, some said they did it in solidarity while others said they were afraid of being invaded by the protesters to close their shops, but one thing that is clear about the protesting IPOB members is that they have been peaceful contrary to allegations of forcing trader to close shops or invading shops to loot traders goods.
One of their leaders and spokesman of IPOB Comrade Emma Powerful who spoke to newsmen said “we decided to avoid coming close to markets, especially Onitsha Main Market, because of the false allegation by some leaders of the traders who have been paid to destroy our image, with allegations of looting and destroying the trader’s goods.
“We are not protesting against our brothers and sisters who are doing their genuine business of trading and other businesses, so there is no reason to attack anybody, or invade their shops, neither are we begging anybody to come and join in the protest, people whose lives and businesses have been destroyed by government policies join us without invitation, while others join in solidarity as Igbos, and allegation of infiltration into our fold is also false, baseless and figments of the imagination of those making it we are only protesting to secure the release of our leader,” he said
Speaking with newsmen National Coordinator of IPOB Mr Chidiebere Onwudiwe who was flanked by Comrade Powerful said that the protest was a result of the detention of Mr Kanu and continued marginalization of South East, adding that the protest will continue on Wednesday.