…Two-week Sit-at-home won’t work – Enugu residents
Youths from the five South East states took to the streets of Enugu on Monday in support of efforts to end sit-at-home, saying the region’s economy was being crippled.
This is also as Enugu state capital witnessed impressive compliance with state’s ban of sit-at-home and Kanu’s order to end the action with popular shopping malls and markets as well as banks opening to customers, as residents said two-week sit-at-home would not work.
Speaking to newsmen, Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youths Worldwide, Mazi Chukwuma Okpalaezeukwu, said the youths were “demonstrating the desire, resolve and endorsement of an end to sit-at-home in the South East”.
“We are Igbo youths and stakeholders that gathered from the five states of the South East to declare and endorse the end to sit-at-home.
“We acknowledge the fact that sit-at-home commenced because of our brother, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s detention. It gained so much support in solidarity with Mazi Nnamdi 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 in the name of sit-at-home and we say no to all forms of criminalities in the South East. Thus, we are convinced that it is now time to end it, just as Kanu himself has said”, he added.
The South East Coordinator of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, Comrade Chidi Nzekwe: ‘The institutions in the South East don’t 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”.
On his part, the Youth Leader, Ohanaaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Enugu State chapter, Mazi Nnamdi Odo, stressed that the difference between the Monday march and others before it was the coming together of youth representatives and stakeholders from the five South East states to speak with one voice against sit-at-home.
“Today, we are out to show solidarity with Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s stand and the South East governments that are trying to end sit-at-home. We are concerned that our economy is being crippled and we the youths are now taking this message very seriously because if we don’t kill sit-at-home, sit-at-home will kill us. God forbid”.
Meanwhile, monitoring around Enugu town showed a significant compliance with the state government’s ban on sit-at-home. At SPAR shopping mall, the main mall and other shops were open with appreciable number of residents doing their shopping.
A shopper and owner of a plumbing firm, Kingsley Onah, said he was doubtful the two-week sit-at-home would work, as people were 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 don’t think the two-week sit-at-home will work” he told newsmen.
Also at SPAR shopping mall, Uchechukwu Orji, an entertainer expressed satisfaction with the level of security in the state and encouraged residents to come out.
‘I came here to shop for my event this evening. 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”, he said.
Abakpa Market was a beehive of activities. A driver, Okpara Emmanuel, said business was picking up on Mondays.
He told newsmen: “This Monday is quite different. There are a lot of people in the market. Before, we were afraid that something bad would happen to us if we came out. But now that there is security everywhere and I will advise people to come out because there is a difference”.
Also, Evangelist Innocent Agu, expressed happiness that business was beginning to pick up, recalling how people’s perishable goods used to get spoilt before the ban of sit-at-home by the Governor Peter Mbah administration.
“I can tell our people that now there is nothing to fear. People should have courage to come out. Police and army are everywhere securing people”, he stated.
A Hairdresser at Mkpokiti, New Layout, Amaka Samuel, recalled what hairdressers suffered before the ban on sit-at-home.
“Hunger wanted to kill us; no customers. But now, it’s a bit different and there is security”, she said.