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  • News - South East - Enugu
  • Updated: July 24, 2023

Enugu Residents March Against Monday Sit-At-Home

Enugu Residents March Against Monday Sit-At-Home

Enugu State residents trooped out in their numbers on Monday to march against the Monday sit-at-home enforced by a faction of the pro-Biafra separatist group led by Simon Ekpa.

The state governor, Dr Peter Mbah, had since June 5 banned the sit-at-home order in the state and urged residents to go about their legitimate duties on that day. He had also improved security around the state.

Governor Mbah had also during the monitoring of compliance to his directive in several major markets and government offices expressed displeasure that a good chunk of the residents still stayed at home and also threatened sanctions for businesses and institutions that refused to open yesterday for activities.

On Monday, as early as 8 am, the residents gathered under the auspices of a Coalition of Civil Society groups and marched round the state to encourage the people to return to their Monday businesses.

Led by their Coordinators, Onyinye Mammah, Ebuka Okoh, Bismark Oji, Charles Ogbu, and Eberechukwu Anigbo, the protesters carried banners and placards with inscriptions such as ”Enough is Enough”; “Say no to Sit at Home in Enugu”, “Allow the poor to breathe”, ‘Our mumu don do”, “Enugu people must be freed from the shackles of those who want to hold it down”, among others.

Shouting “No more sit at home in Enugu” as they marched, the protesters, who converged at the Michael Okpara Square, moved through the Presidential road, Ogui road, Ogbete Main Market, Okpara Avenue, Garden Avenue, New haven, Bisala road and back to Okpara square.

The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Enugu State chapter, Rev. Emmanuel Ede, described the protest march as “heart warning”, saying it was an indication that Enugu people were no longer comfortable with the forced sit at home every Monday in the state.

“There is no better way to show support for what the Enugu State governor is doing to end the Monday sit at home than this march.

"It is a way to boost morale and confidence of the people in the fact that they should go about their businesses.

"The truth is that the Enugu state government has done much in ensuring safety and wellbeing of the people by the provision of security, yet a good number of residents still stay indoor on Monday for fear.

"So this is telling them that we are solidly behind the government on this and that security has been well improved”, Ede stated.

Onyinye Mammah, the Executive Director, Heroine Women Foundation, who spoke on behalf of the Coordinators, explained that they decided to take the bold initiative, following the devastating effect the continued Monday sit at home has had on the economy of the state and the southeast region as a whole.

“How can you continue to do something that has not benefited you since it was started? We pay school fees and our children don’t go to school; businesses are shut on Mondays, not because traders and organisations want to shut their businesses.

"A few people have decided to create anarchy, take laws into their hands and make life uncomfortable for others.

"We cannot continue this way and that is why we think there is need to support Governor Mbah in his effort to end Monday sit at home”, she said.

Eberechukwu Anigbo said that the latest statistics, which showed that the South East had suffers N7.6 trillion loses in productivity and investments as a result of the sit-at-home should spur residents to action to discontinue the exercise and support the move to end it by the state government.

Charles Ogbu, on his part, accused the Finland-based Simon Ekpa of executing the agenda of Igbo enemies.

“We are here to say an emphatic no to those who are instigating violence in the South East; those who are hiding abroad and acting on a template given to them by Igbo enemies to destabilize the South East”, he emphaised.

Meanwhile, apparently in response to improved security and the fresh move by Governor Mbah to seal businesses that refused to open yesterday, the state as traders opened their shops for businesses.

This is as officials of the Enugu State Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA) moved round parts of the state and sealed businesses that refused to open in compliance with an earlier order of government.

A move round the urban areas discovered that some shops were “sealed with immediate effect” at the Spar and Polo Malls, among other places that refused to obey the directive to open for business.

The Ogbete main market, New Market, Kenyetta and Artisan markets opened as early as 8am with several traders. 

Several businesses including banks, which had not opened on Mondays for some time now were opened yesterday for activities.

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