Ever busy Ogbete Road deserted following a s-home IPOB order
Residents across Enugu State have cried out to the governor, Dr. Peter Mbah, for help over the continuous declaration and enforcement of the illegal sit-at-home order by a faction of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) led by Finland-based Simon Ekpa.
The residents, who spoke to newsmen at different locations in the state when a civil society group, Coalition for the Advancement of Good Governance (CAGG) led by Comrade Nduka Festus, went round the state to sensitize and also sound out the people on the negative impacts of sit-at-home on them, said they were tired of the protracted sit-at-home order.
The people, who rued their losses, lamented that the sit-at-home was inflicting unimaginable pains, hardships, and hunger on them.
At Abakpa market, Mrs., Beatrice Onyinye, a trader, recounted the ordeal she was facing in her business as a result of the sit-at-home. She said that school fees had oiled up while she was also unable to pay the rent for her shop since the illegal sit-at-home order was declared.
Enugu State governor Dr Peter Mbah with top security chiefs in the state
She urged the state government to take prompt security measures that would end the menace in the state.
“You cannot be punishing the people you claim to be defending. The governor should please help us stop the whole madness. We are tired. We want to have our freedom of movement again,” she added.
At Ogbete main market, some of the traders, who spoke to our correspondents said they had been suffering losses and low patronage in their businesses as a result of the heinous sit-at-home order.
“Honestly, if the governor can continue to push with his security programme to end sit-at-home in our state, we will be happy. The experience over the years has been terrible. How can anyone in his sane mind ask his fellow human beings to sit at home? Are they feeding us?” a market woman at Ogbete market who simply identified herself as Madam Ugwu said.
At an Access Bank branch along Ogui Road, some of the customers also shared their experiences in the hands of the unknown gunmen enforcing sit-at-home order in the zone.
According to Chief Uwakwe Njoku, a manufacturer in the state, the sit-at-home was crippling the Southeast economy and something urgent must be done to curb it.
“Why won’t I support the governor on this issue? See, this issue of sit-at-home should end and end forever. In fact, it should never have been allowed to fester in the first place. But thank God the new governor is taking decisive steps to end this thing.
“Anybody supporting sit-at-home does not mean well for you and me or any other Igbo person residing in the East.
“Do you know how much we are losing every day as manufacturers? The cost of production is high. You will still pay your staff for Mondays that they didn’t come to work. And now, someone in Finland is attempting to declare two weeks sit at home. It won’t happen in Enugu State. Never again,” Uwakwe fumed.
The story was not different from the feedback at Nsukka where some parents bewailed the lingering menace on the education of their children. Speaking with one of our correspondents, Mrs Hannah Ugwuja, condemned those enforcing sit-at-home order even as she stressed that children were missing out on the national education curricula because of the closure of schools by teachers due to Monday sit-at-home.
Enugu State Governor Dr Peter Mbah
She said parents were finding it difficult coping with the hardships the sit-at-home was causing them. While calling on Governor Mbah to ensure the presence of more security personnel in their areas, she commended him for the decision to end insecurity in the state. She observed that Enugu State had never recorded any incidents of attack since the ban on sit-at-home.
Speaking to traders in Enugu, Comrade Nduka Eze appealed to the residents of the state to resist attempts by the Finland-based promoter of sit-at-home, Simon Ekpa, to tell them how to they should live their lives. Nduka vowed to mobilise more civil society groups to rally citizens around to protest against the government of Finland for harbouring Ekpa, and his cohorts in the country “while they carried out their murderous attacks on innocent citizens”.
It could be recalled that the governor had immediately he assumed office, declared an end to sit-at-home, warning that those enforcing the illegal act would face the wrath of the law.
The government’s position has attracted the support of pro-Biafra agitators such as the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and IPOB in addition to the Church, the civil society, town unions, professional bodies, and traditional rulers, among others. Meanwhile, some of the unknown gunmen have been killed and many of them arrested by joint security forces in the state.
Last week, the Police Force Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Daniel Ndukwe, announced the recovery of the bodies of gunmen, who had earlier escaped with injuries when they were accosted by security operatives during an attempt to snatch a vehicle for their sit-at-home operations in the early hours of the fateful Monday.