The Abia State Government on Sunday rejected the sit-at-home order by the pro-Biafra group, IPOB, and urged parents to release their children to write the compulsory English Language WASSCE examination scheduled to take place nationwide today, Monday, and on Tuesday.
The state government said the IPOB order was not only illegal, but was meant to cause chaos in the South-east state.
“It is unacceptable to allow any individual or group to instill fear in our people to the extent of negatively impacting the education of our innocent school children,” the Commissioner for Information in the state, John Kalu, said in the statement.
“While we do not begrudge any citizen the right to sit at home or go about their normal duties, as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others, we cannot afford to sit idly and watch the future of our children jeopardized and the economic well-being of our people further wrecked over a matter we believe can be resolved judicially or through political negotiations,” Mr Kalu added.
The government asked parents to release their children for the examination, and leaders of market and transport unions to ensure that markets are open and transport vehicles deployed for regular activities in the state.
“Any market that is closed or a transport union that fails to operate will be closed and disbanded, respectively, by government till further notice,” the government said.
“As a responsible government, we will continue to explore all avenues to ensure peaceful resolution of the issues that have led to the agitations by the concerned non-state actors but we will not shirk our responsibility to the majority of our people who are also suffering silently out of no fault of theirs.
“All security agencies in the state are hereby directed to fully deploy at all flash points on Monday and going forward as well as maintain regular patrols to ensure the safety and protection of law abiding citizens and visitors from any form of molestation.”
IPOB, which had been proscribed by the Nigerian government, has been agitating for an independent republic, Biafra, to be carved out from Nigeria.
The sit-at-home order, for every Monday, was meant to put pressure on the Nigerian government over the detained IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who is standing trial for treason in Abuja.
The group’s activities have led to killings and destruction in the South-east.