The Abia government has asked residents of the state to disregard the sit-at-home order by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The government’s directive is contained in a statement issued in Umuahia by Okiyi Kalu, commissioner for information, Abia state.
IPOB had on July 30 ordered sit-at-home in the south-east every Monday, until Nnamdi Kanu, its leader, is released from the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).
The proscribed group said the lockdown tagged ‘Ghost Monday’ will also affect schools and marketplaces.
It threatened to shut down economic activities in the region, adding that violators of the order would be visited with violence.
Reacting to the order, Abia government advised “law abiding citizens and visitors to go about their normal businesses without fear of molestation”.
Kalu stated that adequate security had been provided to ensure the safety of lives and property in all parts of the state.
He added that it made no economic sense to order traders to sit at home, while they are struggling to fend for their families under COVID-19 and the attendant harsh economy.
Kalu further warned that compelling the children to stay away from schools would be counterproductive and capable of retarding their progress academically.
The commissioner, however, noted that it would not compel anyone wishing to sit at home for any reason whatsoever not to do so.
Kalu pointed out that “as citizens have freedom of movement under the extant Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we wish to strongly advice that nobody should also compel or enforce any sit at home order from any non-state actor”.
He said that “doing so will does not serve any known interests of the people of the state”.
The commissioner assured that government was “actively monitoring the situation with Kanu, who is an indigene of the state, currently undergoing trial at a federal high court in Abuja”.
“We remain in touch with his family members, other relevant persons and institutions, and receive regular updates through them on the situation.
“The Abia Government is confident that the judiciary will ensure a free and manifestly fair trial for him and others,” he added.