Some youths from the five South-east states took to the streets of Enugu metropolis on Monday, supporting efforts to end the illegal sit-at-home order, crippling the region’s economy.
Speaking to reporters after the march, the Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youths Worldwide, Chukwuma Okpalaezeukwu, said the youths were “demonstrating the desire, resolve and endorsement of an end to the sit-at-home order in the South-east”.
According to Mr Okpalaezeukwu, Igbo youths and other concerned citizens came from the five states of the South-east to declare an end to the sit-at-home.
“We acknowledge the fact that the sit-at-home order commenced because of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s detention. It gained so much support in solidarity with Kanu in the beginning.
“But as it is now, it is affecting us. Our economy is shrinking, and its adverse effects are just too much.
“Miscreants and criminals are causing so much mayhem in our society under the guise of enforcing the sit-at-home order, and we say no to all forms of criminalities in the South-east.
“We are therefore convinced that it is now time to end it, just as Kanu himself has said,” he added.
‘Let’s stand together to end it’
Chidi Nzekwe, the South-east coordinator of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), said that educational institutions in the South-east do not operate on Mondays.
“Now we are talking about another 14 days of sitting at home. We want to encourage our youths and students to come out. Let us stand together to end this sit-at-home order,” Mr Nzekwe said.
On his part, Nnamdi Odo, the youth leader, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Enugu State Chapter, stressed, “We are from all five South-east states, and we are here to speak with one voice against the unprogressive, anti-people and illegal sit-at-home order”.
He said, “Today, we are out to show solidarity with Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s stand and the South-east governments trying to end the sit-at-home order.
“We are concerned that our economy is being crippled, and the youths are taking this message very seriously because if we don’t kill sit-at-home, sit-at-home will kill us. God forbid.”
Businesses picking up in Enugu
Meanwhile, residents of Enugu metropolis, on Monday, were seen moving about freely. At the same time, malls, markets and banks were open for businesses, signalling their resistance to a call for a two-week sit-at-home by the Simon Ekpa-led faction of IPOB.
A shopper and owner of a plumbing firm, Kingsley Onah, said he was doubtful the two-week sit-at-home order would work, as people are already tired and hungry.
“Besides, there is so much security out there. From my house to this place, I saw so many security men. It’s just that people are just afraid based on the things that happened before.
“But now, if you want to come out, you can come out and do what you want to do in town. The state is secure now. I do not think the two-week sit-at-home order will work,” Mr Onah said.
Also, at SPAR shopping mall, a resident, Uchechukwu Orji, expressed satisfaction with the state’s security level and encouraged other residents to come out.
“Enugu is safe. I’m very impressed. I see people go about their normal businesses. People should not be scared by all this propaganda.
“Security agencies are everywhere to secure you and your businesses. For now, I am impressed. The town is peaceful,” Mr Orji, an entertainer, said.
At Abakpa Market, a driver, Emmanuel Okpara, said businesses are picking up on Mondays as “the confidence of the people to pursue their daily activities is getting higher”.
“Before, we were afraid that something bad would happen to us if we came out. But now there is security everywhere, and I will advise people to come out,” Mr Okpara said.
A resident in New Haven, Innocent Agu, expressed happiness that business was beginning to pick up, adding that people’s perishable goods used to get spoiled before the ban on the sit-at-home order by Governor Peter Mbah’s administration.
“I can tell our people that now there is nothing to fear. People should have the courage to come out. Police and army are everywhere securing our people,” he said.
A hairdresser at Mkpokiti, New Layout, Amaka Samuel, noted that hairdressers suffered before the governor’s ban on the order, adding: “Hunger wanted to kill us; no customers. But now, it is a bit different.”
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