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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Photos from Awka on 2024 Biafra Day


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

It is no longer news that the May 30 was declared the Biafra Day (also known as Biafra Remembrance Day), as was pronounced by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPoB).

This, IPoB said, is in honour all those who lost their lives during the Nigeria/Biafra Civil War that kicked off after the declaration of the secession of the ‘Biafran Land’ from Nigeria on May 30, 1967, lasting for 3 years with estimated killings of 500,000 to 3,000,000 people.

The day, according to IPoB, is also specially reserved for remembering and celebrating “all those heroes and heroines” who have lost their lives in the cause of the Biafran agitation.

And, to mark this day each year, the IPoB has always declared sit-at-home in all the five south-eastern states, and which is most times also usually observed in other neighbouring states to southeast, including Delta.

This year’s Biafra Day celebration and the consequent sit-at-home declaration and observance came with great ambivalence, as the day, May 30, coincided with the date for the Mathematics examination for all the candidates sitting for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), both in the southeast and across the nation, among other coincidences and clashes of activities with the same date.

The IPoB had also early issued warning to exam body (WAEC) ahead of the day; but the exam fixture was, however, not adjusted.

There were also assurances from the police commands and other security agencies in different states of the Southeast, who allayed the fears of the people, by urging them not to ‘sit-at-home’, and assuring them of adequate security and protection.

This, in Anambra, was followed up on the said date with a patrol led by the State Commissioner of Police, CP Nnaghe Obono Itam, who led the patrol team to some strategic locations in the State, including the WAEC office in the state. He also also led the patrol team to some places where students were sitting for the examination, to further allay their panic and strengthen their confidence; as many of the students in the State reportedly attended the examination in disguise as children going to fetch water, dressed in mufti, and with buckets on their heads which contained their school uniforms, books and writing materials — all as a result of panic and fear of being disturbed or apprehended by the enforcers of the sit-at-home.

The Anambra State Police Command had also earlier shared photos and success stories of its operation against suspected sit-at-home enforcers, including guns, bullets and other incriminating items it said it recovered from them.

It was in the midst of this ambivalence that shrouded the day, couple with the gunning down of three armed soldiers in cold blood and burning of their vehicles in the early hours of the same day by the sit-at-home enforcers in Aba, Abia State; that this reporter, Izunna Okafor, toured Awka, the capital city of Anambra State, to monitor the level of compliance of the people to the sit-at-home.

The reporter returns with photo reports capturing the level of human and vehicular movements and general business activities in the capital city.

Places monitored include the UNIZIK Junction (also known as the UNIZIK Temp. Site), Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, commercial parks, Regina Caeli Junction, Banks, Aroma Junction, Schools, Eke Awka Market axis, fuel stations, among others.

The photos tell the rest:

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