Secessionist’s order shuts down Nigeria towns

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Shops are locked, schools closed, and streets are deserted in parts of southern Nigeria following a sit-at-home order by secessionist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob).

The group told people to stay at home on Monday to mark the 54th anniversary of the declaration of the break-away state of Biafra on 30 May 1967, which led to three years of a civil war with Nigeria.

The event was moved a day to allow people to attend church services on Sunday, Ipob leader Nnamdi Kanu said in a broadcast.

But governors of the five south-east states had asked people to disregard the order and go about their businesses.

Some government offices are open but workers have stayed away for fear of attacks by members of Ipob who have in the past forcefully enforced the order.

Four states in the south-east and neighbouring Rivers in the Niger Delta had imposed dusk to dawn curfews in some areas amid the tension.

Authorities in Abia state also banned commercial motorcycles and tricycles as the government said they were used by criminals to carry out attacks.

There has been a recent surge in attacks on police stations, courts and offices of the election commission in the south-east by unidentified groups, but the armed wing of Ipob, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), has been known to carry out such attacks in the past.

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