Keep-away to Mark Biafra Secession Bid Shuts Nigerian Companies

A stay-away shuttered banks and markets in 5 southeastern Nigerian states as residents heeded a name by a separatist group to commemorate the failed declaration of the Biafra area’s independence 54 years in the past.

The cities of Onitsha, Aba, Enugu and Awka had been abandoned as companies closed for the day. Some companies had been partially shut in different elements of the Niger Delta, together with the city of Oyigbo, which has been beforehand focused in separatist assaults.

“Awka, the capital of Anambra State, is empty of individuals,” James Eze, a authorities spokesman, mentioned by cellphone from town on Monday.

The Indigenous Individuals of Biafra, or IPOB, referred to as for the stay-away to mark the Could 30, 1967 anniversary of the area’s declaration of independence. The bid to ascertain an autonomous state in southeastern Nigeria sparked a civil warfare through which greater than one million individuals died.

“The entire cities of the southeast are abandoned,” mentioned Richard Agwu, director of the Institute of Skilled Industrialists and Administration Growth that represents about 100 firms within the southeast. “Autos aren’t on the highway, besides these of the navy and police. Banks aren’t open, outlets are closed and authorities staff are additionally at their houses.”

Separatist teams together with IPOB and Motion for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra have renewed campaigns for the area’s independence after Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim, gained presidential elections in 2015. The teams accuse Buhari’s authorities of marginalizing the area in political appointments and the distribution of infrastructure.

Buhari declared IPOB a terrorist group in 2017. Its chief, Nnamdi Kanu, fled the nation the next yr after dealing with trial for treason. Apart from IPOB, Nigerian authorities are struggling to cope with a decade-long Islamist insurgency within the northeast and rising clashes between nomadic herders and crop farmers within the north-central area.

— With help by Michael Cohen

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