Residents of Enugu metropolis, Monday, deserted the streets in compliance with the sit-at-home order of Simon Ekpa, a self-styled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB. This is despite the order of the Enugu State government for workers and business people of the state not to observe sit-at-home today.
A survey carried out by THE WHISTLER showed that schools, banks, traders and major vehicle transport companies did not open for operations. Our correspondent also observed the presence of security operatives in some strategic areas of the metropolis.
Some residents commended Gov Peter Mbah for being bold in stopping the sit-at-home in the state. They however faulted his approach.
Solomon Eze is a security consultant. He said, “No doubt this is the first time a governor of the state has been frontal in addressing the sit-at-home. I would advise Mbah to first of all show commitment towards the real cause of the sit-at-home. He should consult with his fellow South-East governors and send a delegation to President Bola Tinubu towards releasing Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, spiritual leader of IPOB. He has been discharged and acquitted, hence the decision to keep him in the custody of the DSS is former president Muhammadu Buhari’s personal agenda. Mbah should explore that aspect rather than condemning the agitators for destroying the economy of the state. Kanu is fighting for the oppressed people of South East.”
A school proprietor, Janet Ezeme, said, “I wouldn’t have asked my pupils to come to school today. It is a risk that no sane person would take. The governor should have started by compelling his civil servants to report to work on Mondays, and experiment with them rather than issuing an order to that effect. That pronouncement created more fear because he played into Simon Ekpa in faraway Finland. I think Ekpa’s order was more complied with.”
A journalist, Tony Okeke, commended Mbah, and blamed the continued incarceration of Kanu on the selfish ambitions of past governors of South-East states.
According to him, “South-East Governors Forum, then led by ex-gov Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, was never proactive in effecting the release of Kanu. They worshipped Buhari because of their political ambitions. Thank God most of them failed woefully in the last elections. They never for once approached Buhari then as a body to release Kanu.
“So Mbah started well, but he should know that Soludo of Anambra State attempted the same, and harvested gory incidents afterwards. Enugu lacks adequate security to guarantee relative safety in the way Mbah envisages. I have seen one police helicopter hovering in the capital city. But what about the fate of our rural dwellers? I am from Igboeze North, a hotbed of IPOB. There is nothing like presence of security agents there as I speak with you.”
THE WHISTLER reported that Mbah ordered businesses to begin operations in the entire state today, adding that sit-at-home was antithetical to his administration’s quest to grow the economy of the state. The state police command, through its PPRO, Mr Daniel Ndukwe, also stated that the command had deployed both human and material resources to ensure security of lives and property across the state.
Sit-at-home was declared in the entire South-East states by IPOB to pressure the release of Kanu, who was arrested in Kenya and brought to Nigeria in 2021. Despite the Appeal Court order for his release because he was illegally brought to Nigeria, then President Buhari did not comply. Kanu is being tried over alleged running a proscribed group, treason and jumping bail.