Friday, 22nd September 2023

Empty streets, shut businesses greet Mbah’s sit-at-home ban in Enugu

By Lawrence Njoku (Enugu) and Ernest Nzor (Abuja)
06 June 2023   |   4:05 am
Empty streets and shut businesses greeted the move by the Enugu State government to end the weekly Monday sit-at-home in the state.

Photo by Patrick Meinhardt / AFP

• Gov monitors compliance, reassures security of life, property
• Igbo youths back Mbah
•We had suspended sit-at-home, says IPOB

Empty streets and shut businesses greeted the move by the Enugu State government to end the weekly Monday sit-at-home in the state.

Governor Peter Mbah had, last Thursday, after the first security meeting of his administration, announced a ban on the practice. He had appealed to residents, market leaders, transporters, corporate organisations, among others, to resume full activities on Mondays from yesterday, assuring protection of life and property.

He had set up a taskforce to monitor compliance, stressing that the weekly sit-at-home has impacted negatively on economy of the state.

It was gathered that residents, however, deserted streets yesterday.

It was observed that banks remained under lock and key, even as schools (including public owned), markets, fuel stations, among others, were shut despite heavy police and military presence provided by the state government.

MEANWHILE, the governor, yesterday, also toured parts of the state to monitor compliance.

Mbah visited the state Secretariat, Ogbete Main Market, Kenyetta Market, New Market, Mayor Market, as well as other places, assuring residents of determination of his administration to restore full socio-economic activities on Mondays.

He also visited ministries of Water Resources, Commerce, Capital Territory, Inter-Ministerial Affairs and Special Duties. Others were ministries of Science and Technology, Lands, Finance, Office of the Accountant-General, Office of the Head of Service, Office of the Surveyor-General, among others.

The governor assured commercial transport operators, as well as market men and women, who received him during the tour, that other measures will be put in place to encourage residents to come out on Mondays.

He, however, expressed delight with level of security in the state to ensure safety of residents, reiterating that ending the practice of sit-at home is in the best interest of Enugu people.

Also, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council (OYC) has expressed support for Mbah’s move to end observance of sit-at-home.

The youth wing of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, appealed to Biafra agitators to be honest about its stance that the weekly sit-at-home had been suspended.

A statement by the National President of OYC, Okwu Nnabuike, noted that the call is sequel to the directive by the Mbah administration.

He stressed that it was sad that months after the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) cancelled the sit-at-home after discovering it’s having devastating effects on the South East economy, some enemies of Ndigbo had carried on with it.

BUT, IPOB, yesterday, said it had long suspended the sit-at-home in accordance with the directive of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

The group stated, however, that some hoodlums have continued with the exercise, using it to commit all manner of crimes in the guise of enforcement.

Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful, in a statement, however, expressed displeasure with Mbah for allegedly associating the group with the practice.

He said: “It is important that Mba should be aware that IPOB has already suspended Monday sit-at-home. For him to publicly associate IPOB with the practice is obnoxious. If, indeed, the governor wants normalcy to return on Mondays, he would have the support of IPOB, because those enforcing the order are criminals.”