Oyigbo Town in Rivers State has become a ghost town as the military intensified operations against members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
Aside large armed soldiers doing house-to-house search, the military on Thursday deployed fighter planes that hovered several times over the beleaguered area. Residents remained indoors for days running with markets closed on Rivers State Government orders. The State Governor, Nyesom Wike, had, in two statewide broadcasts, said the military and community leaders in the area must smoke out every vestige of IPOB which had been accused of gruesomely killing about three policemen in violent at attacks that swept through Oyigbo penultimate week
The Neighbourhood gathered that Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, had withdrawn power supply to the area for days leaving the residents in darkness. Soldiers had been reportedly breaking into homes at night in search of IPOB members.
Inquiries made by The Neighbourhood in the area on Thursday show that Oyigbo is under tight lock with most families running out of basic foodstuffs. With the closure of markets and banks, residents still in the area cannot restock depleted foodstuffs, basic amenities, including medical and pharmaceuticals. Families that called The Neighbourhood on the telephone complained of their inabilities to access medical needs.
The Neighbourhood could not reach the Spokesman, 6 Division, Nigeria Army, Major Charles Ekeocha , for comments on the deployment of the war planes. However, this newspaper was told by a senior military officer that it was part of a psychological warfare launched against IPOB members and apologists who may be in the area. On when the military operations could end as humanitarian needs are rising, the senior officer said it was until the military achieved their goal. But he declined to comment on what the “target” was.
Residents of Oyigbo have called for Federal Government’s intervention to end the ongoing military operations there and allow them attend to health situations.