The sit-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), turned violence in Rivers State as youths suspected to be supporters of the group allegedly attacked residents of Oyigbo, headquarters of Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The incident took place in the early hours of Friday, with no fewer than 15 trucks and buildings torched, while shops were allegedly looted, when irate youths took advantage of the IPOB directive to commit felony.
Our correspondent in Port Harcourt said the, River State Command of Nigeria police said it has arrested 18 persons in connection with the violence.
Witnesses said the tension caused panic in Oyigbo and neighbouring LGAs, and paralyzed business activities as travellers to other States were stranded .
Four truck drivers conveying goods from Onne and Port Harcourt to other parts of the country were reportedly missing after they were attacked by bandits who cashed in on the situation to loot.
There was partial compliance to the sit-at-home directive as shops, markets and businesses belonging to the Igbo in Oyigbo and Port Harcourt were shut down.
Some banks in Oyigbo and parts of Port Harcourt hurriedly shut down for fear of being attacked by criminals.
The sit-at-home order, which supposed to be peaceful, turned violent when irrate youths intercepted trucks conveying goods outside Port Harcourt and others coming into Port Harcourt and set them ablaze.
Secretary of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Notore/Indorama Trialer Park , Onne branch, Mahmud Lawal, said two of his trucks were set ablaze by the bandits.
He said other trucks conveying goods such as rice, beans, fertilizers and baking flowers, were also set ablaze by the bandits, while about N1.2m placed in some of the trucks were stolen by the bandits.
He said 4 drivers abducted by the arsonist were still missing at the time of filing the report.
He said: “We were informed that it was IPOB members that set our trucks ablaze. Some of the trucks set ablaze were conveying goods outside Port Harcourt. Others were parked along Port Harcourt/Aba express road by Oyigbo Timber junction, while some other ones were coming into Port Harcourt through Oyigbo.
“The trucks were loaded with 30 tons of beans, 30 tons of fertilizers, 30 tons of rice and were on their way to their various destinations before they were attacked.