Tension in Imo as Buhari arrives, streets deserted residents observes sit-at-home

Obinwannem News Tension in Imo as Buhari arrives, streets deserted residents observes sit-at-home

Palpable tension heightens in Imo State, as President Muhammadu Buhari arrives, streets were deserted following order from the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB to Sit-at-home in Imo and four other Southeastern states in an apparent disapproval of the President’s visit.

Buhari was recieved at the Sam Mbakwe Airport in Owerri, the state capital on Thursday, as anticipated.

Governor Hope Uzodinma, has revealed few days back, that Buhari would be visiting to commission some “significant projects” executed by his government.

Meanwhile, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mike Abattam, who spoke with The PUNCH in a telephone interview on Wednesday, specifically cautioned that its operatives and those of other sister agencies would be on the ground to deal with mischief makers during and after the President’s visit.

He said, “The security arrangements are perfect; the arrangements are maximum. As usual, we prepared to secure lives and property of the people of the state. We have informed troublemakers to vacate the state because we will deal ruthlessly with anybody who disturbs the peace of the state tomorrow (today) and going forward.”

In a related development, there was uncertainty over the sit-at-home declared by the Indigenous People of Biafra.

Earlier on Wednesday, IPOB, in declaring a sit-at-home protest in the South-East against Buhari’s visit to Imo State, warned leaders and every Igbo citizen to stay away from any ceremony organised by the State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, to welcome Buhari.

The pro-Biafra group’s Director of State, Chika Edoziem, announced the protest in a Radio Biafra Broadcast monitored by one of our correspondents.

He said, “Buhari is not welcome to Imo on Thursday, September 9, 2021.”

He said there would be “total lockdown of Biafraland” tomorrow.

Edoziem warned that severe consequences would await Igbo leaders, including traditional rulers, Ohanaeze Ndigbo leaders, women and youth groups, who dared came to welcome the President during the visit.

But later, there was a statement purportedly issued by IPOB’s Head of Directorate of State, Chike Edoziem, where the pro-Biafra group dismissed claims that it ordered sit-at-home in Imo and other parts of South-East.

Buhari’s visit to Igboland proves he is father of the nation – Ohanaeze
But the President-general of the Igbo apex socio-cultural group, Prof. George Obiozor, said President Buhari’s visit to the Imo State was an indication that he remained the father of the nation.

In a statement issued on Wednesday through the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, he (Obiozor) described a purported report in some social media credited to “one Chief Chidi Ibeh, acclaimed President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly”, that the Ohanaeze Ndigbo was at odds with the planned visit of the President as wicked and unimaginable, adding that “nothing can be more dishonest than this.”

“By this visit, the President has proven, beyond doubts, that he is the father of the nation. We are persuaded that this landmark visit to the South-East of Nigeria by Mr. President is critical and a turning point in the Igbo political history,” the statement read in part.

The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, who briefed journalists on Wednesday, stressed, “The visit of Mr. President will profit the people of the state and will advance the socio-economic well-being of the people, state and the entire geopolitical zone.”

He further said Buhari would use the visit to inaugurate four projects in the state; Naze-Ihagwa–Nekede-Obinze Road, balloon technology driven tunnel project, Egbeada Bypass and Government House ultra-modern executive council chambers.

Lolo Ijeoma Njoku reporting, Obinwannem News writer / September 9, 2021

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