Commercial activities in Awka and environs was partially shut down on Thursday following the coincidence of sit-at-home called by pro-Biafran groups and Ascension Thursday observed as Holy Day by Catholic faithful.
Newsmen report that Onitsha, the commercial hub of Anambra is the craddle of Catholic Church in the Eastern Nigeria with the church having massive adherents in Awka, Nnewi and other communities in the state.
However, Catholics in the area had usually complied with their religious orders by staying away from private and commercial activities on Sundays and other Holy Days of obligation.
But the coincidence of 2019 Ascension day and May 30, marked as anniversary of the defunct Biafran Republic resulted to partial shutdown of social and commercial activities in Awka and environs.
NAN investigations revealed that Eke Awka centre market, Ukwuorji market behind Government Market and Nkwo Amaenyi Market witnessed low commercial activities on Thursday.
Ejike Umenzekwe told newsmen on Thursday in Awka that he did not open his Business Centre because of the Ascension Thursday adding that as a Catholic he was under obligation not to operate.
He said: “The docrine of Catholic Church taught us to observe Ascension Thursday as Sunday because that was the day Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, 40 days after of His resurecetion.
“The day is as important as the day Christ was born and that was the reason Catholics that consitute high population percentage in the state are at home.”
Another respondent, Chidinma Ukadike, a sales girl in a supermarket located at popular Aroma Junction, Awka said though a Catholic she came to work because her propritor was a non Catholic.
She said: “If I had my way I would not have come out today because working today is against my faith.”
Sunday Ilechukwu, a resident of Awka said the low percent of people seen on the streets of Awka was because the residents obeyed the sit-at-home order by pro-Biafran groups.
He said the marginalization of Igbo people by other sections of the country since after the end of Nigeria/Biafran civil war had made it possible for people to be sympathetic to the activities of pro-Biafran groups.
Ilechukwu said that he was one of the people that held that Igbos should be fairly treated in Nigeria, adding that with equitable distribution of resources and positions, prolonged agitations by pro-Biafran groups would end.
Newsmen report that there were a few vehicular movements by private and commercial vehicles within Awka city centre, with most shops and relaxation outlets closed.
Security personnel especially officers and men of the Nigeria Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps were seen mounting survelliance at strategic locations as well as patrol within the town.
However, Awka town has been peaceful and calm as a number of people were seen going about their normal activities.