Candidates for the 2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Enugu State were stranded following the sit-at-home order of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) observed on Mondays in the Southeast.
The 2022 Computer Based Test (CBT), which began on May 6, was to end yesterday but an official of the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) said the exam was shifted to today because of the Monday sit-at-home in the Southeast.
Some of the candidates said they were not aware of the cancellation.
“We went to a nearby cybercafe to reprint our slip and confirmed the shift.”
Another candidate, who identified herself simply as Chigozie, said JAMB should have informed them earlier about the change rather than allow them risk coming to the centre.
“It is risky to go out on Mondays in Enugu for fear of the unknown. But we did and the exam has been postponed. Personally I feel disappointed and stranded because my house is far from the centre. But what can we do than go home and return tomorrow (today),” she said.
Some of them said they trekked long distance to meet up with the exam. Nneka Ani said: “The exam was to hold by 9am, so I woke up early. I trekked a long distance but thank God I was able to get to the hall in time, though tired.
“The road was so empty with few vehicles. It was a challenge but I summoned courage and at the end, I succeeded,” she stressed.
She however appealed to enforcers of the sit-at-home to rescind their decision as it was affecting everyone and the state’s economy.
In Anambra State, candidates could not also assess their examination halls despite arriving as early as 7am. The halls were locked.
An official at the Integral Development Consult, Awka, Mrs. Ngozi Nwude-Nduka, said the centre was shut to ‘play safe’ and not jeopardise the security of candidates.
She said: “We want to ensure nothing happens to the candidates. Besides, possibilities of non-vehicular movement may be experienced and so hinder easy transportation for candidates who will come from distant places.
“This centre hosts 250 candidates at each session, comprising morning, afternoon and evening, and we cannot afford to jeopardise their security.”
She advised affected candidates to reprint their examination slips to enable them know their new examination dates.
But despite the cancelation of the order by IPOB, residents have continued to observe it for fear of being attacked.
In Onitsha, Nnewi, Ekwulobia, and some parts of Awka, business and commercial activities were grounded. Vehicular movements were skeletal while major markets, banks, petrol stations, motor parks, and other business premises were under lock and key.
Residents comply in Abia
Residents of Aba, commercial nerve of Abia State, stayed at home..
Although there are no restrictions on human and vehicular movements within the commercial city, operators of inter and intra-city motor parks and loading bays opened for businesses but recorded low patronage.
Major markets including Ariaria International Market, Cemetery, Shopping Centre, and other markets were shut.
While commercial banks and other corporate organisations remained closed, schools were devoid of academic activities. Gates of the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, were open with few staffers at work.
At Main Park by Milverton and park road, commercial tricyclists operated freely. Some fuel stations, especially those within the main park area, were open but with few customers. Some street traders were seen around Ehi Road awaiting customers.
It was the same scenario in Umuahia, the state capital, as residents also stayed away from their offices, shops and businesses.Security agencies were also absent from their duty posts.
Low turnout as schools resume
The Ministry of Education had directed all private and public schools to resume yesterday after one month vacation.
In Umuahia, the state capital, there was low turnout of pupils though teachers were at their duty posts. Some pupils tidied up their classrooms and premises, while others played around at Ibeku Junior and High Schools, Umuahia.
The Principal of Ibeku Junior School, Mrs. Erima Dike, decried the low turnout, and appealed to parents and guardians to bring their wards to school to cover the timetable.
At Amuzukwu Girls Secondary Schools, few pupils were seen in groups in their classrooms and within the school premises exchanging pleasantries.
Principal Dr Ngozi Alighili said they had resumed and were fully prepared for the third term. We have low turnout of students today but, as you can see, our teachers are present, ready to work. I urge the pupils to come back,” she said.
The Principal of St. Paul’s International Academy, Umuahia, Mr. Uchenna Ojiji, said they had fully resumed for the third term.
“By the grace of God, all the teachers have reported. We equally welcome a handful of our pupils and students. We tighten up our security, limit visitations on Mondays because of the weekly sit-at-home threat. We encourage parents to always release their children to us on Mondays without fear,” Ojiji added.
A parent, Mrs. Ijeoma Kalu, said she refused to release her children for fear of insecurity.
“I can’t allow my children to go to school on Mondays because of the sit-at-home order. My children will resume tomorrow, being Tuesday,” she said.
Civil servants shun Soludo, stay at home
- Markets, commercial activities remain shut
Civil servants in Anambra State ignored Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s order to resume work. Banks, markets and commercial activities were shut, but few tricycle operators moved around in Awka with caution.
At Nnewi and Onitsha, business activities did not hold for fear of the rampaging gunmen.
But the police spokesman, Ikenga Tochukwu, said the state was calm. He said residents should not allow fear ruin their businesses, adding that security operatives were on patrol always.
Some of the civil servants said they were not prepared to risk their lives for anybody. According to them, former Governor Willie Obiano allowed them stay at home on Mondays, so they urged Soludo to do same.
A driver with a popular transport company said his friend’s vehicle was burnt three weeks ago so he would not risk someone’s investment by listening to the government.
Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment Paul Nwosu could not be reached for comments as his number was not available. But another government official said he would not blame anyone for not coming out, ‘those boys are mean and deadly, nobody challenges his or her Chi,’ he said.
Bus burnt in Onitsha
A shuttle bus was set ablaze in Okpoko area of Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State.
It was gathered the gunmen ordered the driver and passengers to disembark before setting the bus on fire. No life was lost but the hoodlums were said to have blocked the road linking the community with used tyres and iron bars before leaving the area.
Business as usual in Ebonyi
It was business as usual in Ebonyi State as all major and minor businesses opened. Security operatives were drafted to major parts of the city and commercial areas to provide protection.
Residents have long ago stopped observing the suspended sit-at-home following its cancellation by IPOB.
Banks, malls, schools, markets, private and public offices were all open.
However, transport services did not load to destinations outside the state. Security operatives in the morning hours carried out a show of force round the city in a long convoy of vehicles.