The Hope Uzodinma government in Imo through its agency, Owerri Capital Development Authority (OCDA) has sealed banks in Owerri, the state capital for obeying a sit-at-home order issued by separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Residents told woke up yesterday morning to see the banks sealed while customers were seen in front of the banks stranded.
All the banks on Assumpta Avenue popularly known as Bank Road had a sticker with the seal of OCDA and a red tape, except Zenith Bank which is undergoing reconstruction.
The banks affected included United Bank for Africa, First, Heritage, Access, Eco, Sterling, and Polaris banks.
The OCDA sticker pasted on the entrance door of the banks had the following inscriptions: ‘Sealed! Signed: General Manager; No building approval; removal of this sticker without approval from the office will attract a fine of N500,000’.
All the banks in the state had closed for five consecutive Mondays following the sit-at-home declared by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, as a protest against its leader Nnamdi Kanu being detained by the federal government.
Though IPOB had suspended the sit-at-home order, banks, schools, markets, and business outfits in the state had continued to shut down on Mondays as a precautionary measure.
While the government had initially blamed the sealing on building permit, it later explained that it was due to their obedience of IPOB’s sit-at-home order.
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, told PUNCH that the state government sealed the banks because they frustrated customers on Monday by refusing to open for transactions.
Asked when the government would unseal the banks, Emelumba said it was left for OCDA and the banks to determine.
The OCDA General Manager, Innocent Ikpamezie, did not, however, respond to multiple calls put across to his cell phones by PUNCH.