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Tension in South East over IPOB, MASSOB, unpaid salaries

This Yuletide signifying a season of peace, has ironically, been turned into a period of tension especially in the South-East which has been rocked by a series of protests for sundry reasons.
When thousands of pro-Biafra youths are not protesting on the streets, disrupting commercial activities, workers and pensioners are agitating against unpaid wages, especially in Imo State or agitated customers are venting their anger on MTN facilities for blocking their lines even after they had re-validated them.
The development has sent apprehension among many in the zone that the coming Christmas could be shorn of the traditional glamour and have therefore appealed to the relevant authorities to give attention to the reasons for the spate of protests.
A resident of Aba, Ike Nwanne, said he envisaged a situation where South-Easterners returning for the Christmas could not get home till the end of the festive period stranded on the way owing to the activities of MASSOB and IPOB.
Last week members of the group brought the commercial city of Onisha to a standstill for over 12 hours as they blocked the strategic Niger Bridge, the gateway to the South-East and part of the North, prompting a strong intervention by the military which, allegedly, culminated in loss of lives.
An Onitsha-based trader, Mr. Chinedu Ifemdu appealed to the Federal government to release Mr. Kanu, leader of IPOB from detention to disarm his supporters of further reason to protest.
“The group will lose the sympathy, not necessarily the support, they have received from some people if they continue with their actions should Kanu be released”, he said.
Speaking in the same vein, another trader, Mr. Okey Onwe, said traders in Onitsha had incurred losses as they have been forced to close their business on the days of their protests  as security measures.
“While some of us agree that in a democracy there is the freedom of peaceful protests, we cannot continue to close our business at frequent intervals especially at this   Christmas period” warning that at a time, the traders might resist being forced to close their businesses.
As regards the unpaid salaries of some group of Imo workers for which hundreds of parastatal staff marched through the streets of Owerri ending up at the Government House, the workers narrated pathetic stories of being unpaid for nine to 12 months.
One of them lamented, “Christmas is approaching. How do I meet my obligations to my family and community”?.
To further underscore that this is indeed a period of tension private institutions were not  left out as hundreds of agitated customers last week besieged the Owerri main office of Nigeria’s leading telecommunication outfit, MTN, for blocking their lines after completing the re-validation exercise of their lines.
The agitators were said to have been appalled by the non-challant attitude of the officials to their complaints but got violent when water was alleged to have been sprinkled on them from a window at the top floor.
Pastor Chukwuka Azuka told Christian Voice that the current upheavals in Nigeria,  not only in the South-East, are signs of the end- time.
“The leaders and Nigerians must pray to God for forgiveness and grace. They are the ways to bring peace to the South-east” he opined.

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Christian Voice