There was palpable tension at the head bridge end of Onitsha-Asaba Expressway, as some personnel of the Nigeria Army blocked the bridge, following the alleged killing five of their colleagues by gunmen at Ihiala, in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State.
A source, who did not want to be mentioned in the print, said that the soldiers mobilised from Anambra and Delta States and barricaded the popular Onitsha-Asaba Expressway in protest over the killing of their colleagues at Ihiala, along Owerri-Onitsha highway, at the early hours of Saturday, the 29th May, 2021.
According to the source, the soldiers came out as early as 5:30 am, immediately they heard about the killings of their colleagues.
A commercial bus driver, who also did not want his name to be mentioned, lamented that he was confused and tired of the security situation in the country.
According to him, “we are being robbed on daily basis now in Onitsha and Asaba, because of lack of security presence in the two cities. I think it is the right time now before it would get out of hand to bring the SARS.”
“I want to message you, journalist, to help me tell President Mohammadu Buhari, that Nigerians are dying every day in this part of the country. And that we needed urgent help because our grow male children does not longer move freely in the area”, he said in his spartan English.
The source appealed to the Security Authorities to ensure they assisted the victims families in cash or kind.
All the national dailies coming from Lagos, Ibadan, Benin and Asaba, were all locked down between 5:30 am to 11:45 am.
Our correspondent learnt that newspaper vendors in Awka, Anambra State capital also decried the stoppage of vehicles conveying newspapers from Lagos to the state at River Niger Bridgehead, Onitsha.
Miss Nneka Okoye, a vendor at Aroma junction, Awka said the situation totally dislodged them from business.
“We are surprised to face this kind of problem this morning, as you can see, there is no Saturday paper on display here now.
“The distributors told us that the vehicles carrying newspapers were stopped at Bridgehead, Onitsha because of issues the military had with people at Ihiala”, Okoye said.
But an eye witness said that the military opened the bridge for traffic at about 12 noon on Saturday.
When contacted, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Anambra State Police Command, said the early morning gridlock at the head bridge was as a result of stringent checks by security operatives there.
According to Ikenga, the measure was meant to track bad elements.
On the killing of military at Ihiala, the PPRO said he could not speak on that as information at his disposal was sketchy, but however, confirmed that there was a report of civil disorder in the area.
On the IPOB Sit-at-home, the directive was not effective in Awka, as people were seen going about their normal business.
Enugu State is also calm as people were seen going about their businesses after the expiration of the monthly sanitation.