THE Nigeria Police have denied knowledge of the sit-at-home order across states in the southeast region.
The ICIR reports that the the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) initiated order has been active for over a year ago.
In August 2021, the IPOB introduced a sit-at-home order to compel the Nigerian government to release its leader, Mr Nnamdi Kanu, whose arrest the Nigerian Federal government initiated in Kenya, and who has been standing trial in Nigeria for alleged treasonable felony and terrorism.
Since then, social and commercial activities in the region have been disallowed by IPOB enforcers every Monday.
A two-part investigation by The International Centre for Investigative Reporting – read the investigation here and here – has shown the human and economic cost of the order, particularly on small businesses.
The findings showed that the South-East region has sat at home for over 71 Mondays since the exercise began.
During the investigation, The ICIR interviewed 22 small businesses in each of the five states under the region.
It also estimated that annual revenue of N4.618 trillion ($10.495 billion) could have been lost due to the order.
However, when The ICIR contacted the Anambra state police spokesman, Deputy Superintendent Tochukwu Ikenga, he dismissed the practical existence of the order in the state.
According to Ikenga, business activities are active in the state.
“I don’t have such information. I go to work every day,” he replied when asked why the police had failed to quash the sit-at-home order.
“I go around with public vehicles. I don’t have such a report. Anybody that has an engagement should go out. Being a security man is a secondary factor,” he added.
Similarly, the Ebonyi State police spokesperson, Chris Anyanwu, said there was no sit-at-home exercise in the state.
Anyanwu said, “There is no sit-at-home now, except in the earlier period. We have been maintaining it. We do our routine show of force to make the assurance double sure in case there is any attack.”
The ICIR was unable to speak with the police spokesmen in Enugu and Imo states, Daniel Ndukwu and Michael Abattam, respectively, as the two men did not respond to calls or WhatsApp messages.
The Abia State police spokesperson, Godfrey Ogbonna, also refused to answer repeated calls.