The Chief of Army Staff, Maj. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, has ordered troops to seize control of areas where the Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) enforce their sit-at-home order throughout the South-East states.
The order cames after a Finland-based pro-Biafra agitator, Simon Ekpa, announced that there would be a two-week sit-at-home in the South-East region from July 31.
According to him, the order was to demand the immediate and unconditional release of the detained IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, as well as facilitate the freedom of Biafra nation, among others.
Ekpa warned that failure to comply with the sit-at-home order would attract ‘heavy consequences’.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, however declared that such an announcement was unlawful and would not be condoned.
He said the troops of the 82 Division had been given an order to work with other security agencies to ensure citizens go about their businesses freely.
Onyema said, “The renewed threat by IPOB to compel the people in Southeastern Nigeria to sit at home is not only appalling but a violation of the fundamental rights of Southeastern Nigerians and, therefore, unlawful. This will never be condoned.
“The Chief of Army Staff has handed down clear directives to the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army operating in synergy with other security agencies to ensure robust patrols to dominate all flashpoints and emplace measures to ensure citizens are free to go about their legitimate businesses.
“Strangely, Simon Ekpa, a notorious terrorist and self-acclaimed leader of IPOB, is in Finland making a living for himself and his family, but ordering the people to shut down their means of livelihood by sitting at home.”
The army spokesman called on Nigerians in the South-East region to disregard the sit-at-home order, urging them to support the security forces to defeat IPOB.
Onyema said, “We implore the good and enterprising people of the South-East to shun all forms of cajoling or threats aimed at unlawfully compelling them to be reclusive by sitting at home. We urge them to join forces with the security operatives to resist this illegality perpetrated by IPOB.”
Similarly,the police have vowed to resist the sit-at-home order in any part of the South-East.