Most schools and businesses in south-eastern parts of Nigeria Tuesday complied to an order by separatist groups IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) and MASSOB (Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra) or BIM (Biafra Independence Movement) to shut down in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the declaration of an independent republic of Biafra.
From the commercial city of Onitsha to the industrial town of Nnewi, and from Awka to Enugu, Umuahia, Aba, Owerri, Nsukka and Abakaliki, most markets and shops were closed and the streets were largely deserted.
Outside the south-east, Igbo traders have observed the sit-at-home order on different days before May 30.
IPOB and MASSOB report that the memorial was equally celebrated in no fewer than 75 countries around the world including the UK, France, Spain, China, UAE and South Africa. In several Western nations, processions were guarded by security operatives along major streets.
Young people protesting peacefully had, in the past, been shot dead by overzealous security agents. Nothing similar happened this Tuesday.
Agitation for Biafra has increased following perceived marginalisation of south-eastern Nigeria since after the 30-month Nigeria-Biafra war that killed at least 2million people.
Demand for secession has increased since the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the pro-independence IPOB, in October 2015. Kanu was recently granted bail under very stringent conditions.