Sit-At-Home Order: Time to change strategy & avoid deadly cost of the plot

8 months ago | 446

First Bank

The obvious bad governance in the country has hit virtually every geo-political zone like the hurricane. The huge cost of this plot in the number of lives and properties lost so far in the South East, calls for a change of strategy, while efforts should be made to speed up the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, which is central to the sit-at-home order.


By Goddy Ikeh

THE partial observance of the sit-at-home order in some cities in the South East shows that the end of the deadly cost of this aspect of the struggle may soon be over for good. Reports from Onitsha and Nnewi on Monday, September 20, 2021, said that the doors of the big markets were opened in the morning, but the traders were reluctant to come out for fear of being killed or harmed by some people, who try to enforce the order of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.     

Surely, this latest development is not unconnected with the warning dished out last week by IPOB that “We have no other sit-at-home order after 14th September. Any other purported sit-at-home, including the suspended weekly sit-at-home on Mondays does not exist in the dairy of IPOB. In fact, after September 14, there is no other sit-at-home this week. Any contrary news or speculations to this effect should be ignored.

“Anybody trying to enforce any sit-at-home order using the name of IPOB is a saboteur, and does so at his peril. If we catch anybody disturbing the peace of Biafrans or residents in Biafra land under the guise of enforcing non-existent sit-at-home order, such a person will regret his actions because he will receive the reward of traitors.” 

This statement by Emma Powerful, media and publicity secretary of IPOB, also said that “IPOB is a responsible organization with reasoning and empathy. We cannot be part of the problem we are trying to solve. We cannot join the enemies to compound the woes of our people we are fighting to liberate.

“That was why we suspended the ghost Mondays that we earlier declared because of the economic implications to our people. We listened to appeals by the people and reviewed our stance on the matter then. That was why we reduced the sit-at-home protests to the days our leader, Nnamdi Kanu will be making appearances in court.

“That is enough for now and we stand by it. Anybody trying to impose another sit-at-home order on our people or enforce illegal or imaginary sit-at-home is not IPOB, and must be dealt with. Such a person(s) are working with the enemies to disrepute IPOB, and we won't tolerate such stupidity,” the statement said.

He said that strongly condemned the barbaric act by hoodlums and mentally deranged fellows, who disrupted a WAEC exam in a school in Imo State on Monday, September 13. What a stupid madness! Whoever was behind such barbarity must be made to pay for their actions.

“IPOB leadership is hereby promising to replace those motorbikes burnt in the school to their owners and rebuild school blocks burnt by hoodlums in the name of ESN and IPOB volunteers, this is not to portray or indicate that IPOB committed the heinous crimes against our people and promise to set up tax force to checkmate those parading themselves as IPOB volunteers and those committing this crime against humanity and our people.  

“We plead to Biafrans to bear with us for this dastardly act against humanity they are using to disrepute and demonize IPOB in the world. We are calling on the school management and those their properties were destroyed to contact any IPOB office near to them for possible payments of their properties,” the statement added.

In addition to this refreshing statement from IPOB, the Anambra State Government has expressed delight at the enthusiastic messages of solidarity it has been receiving from the public, especially the youth, to the measures taken in the last few days toward the full resumption of socio-economic activities in the state every workday of the week, including Monday. According to C Don Adinuba, Anambra State commissioner for information & public enlightenment, the youth appreciated that ‘’it is in their interest that normal socioeconomic life returns to not just Anambra State but also the Southeast geopolitical zone which has, according to experts, lost over N50 billion since a group of non-state actors decreed five weeks ago a stay-at-home order every Monday in the Southeast in protest against the detention of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, in Abuja.”

A statement by the commissioner recalled that the sit-at-home decree was announced without consultations with such groups as Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex socio-cultural Igbo organisation and that “the non-state actors have gone ahead to molest in the most unconscionable manner innocent members of the public, usually the weakest members of society, who went out of their homes to earn legitimate income to feed their families and other dependents”. “There are reports of arson and murder in different states of the Southeast perpetrated by the non-state actors. The majority of the heinous crimes were committed well after well-known IPOB leaders had rescinded the stay-at-home order because of its grave consequences for the Igbo people who, like the rest of Nigerians, are going through severe economic times,” the statement said.

“In light of the above, the Anambra State Government hereby approves the requests from youth groups across the state and beyond to work closely with traditional rulers and presidents-general of all 179 communities in the state, market associations, transport unions, the police and sister security and intelligence agencies in the state, including the Anambra Vigilance Group, AVG, to ensure that the Anambra people perform their legitimate duties without hindrance from any quarters every day of the week, starting from Monday, September 13, 2021. The youth can report any likely threat to the public peace to any of the persons and groups mentioned above.

“The Anambra State Government is delighted to observe that in communities like Ogidi in Idemili North Local Government Area where the youth have worked in the last few weeks in collaboration with community leaders and security agencies against the non-state actors, full socioeconomic activity has since returned. The Government commends such communities, and ask other communities to emulate them,” the statement added.

In the same vein, some Igbo Youths have called on the federal government to provide all the logistics necessary for the speedy trial of Nnamdi Kanu. The group who condemned the continued detention of Kanu without arraignment, threatened to lead a heavy protest to Abuja if government fails to commence hearing on the case.

The group said in a communiqué signed by Igbo youth leaders on Thursday, September 16, in Enugu that “That we are determined and committed to lasting peace, stability and security in the South East and Igbo land in general. We shall continue to work in solidarity with the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide and other political class in protecting and promoting Igbo Interest in Nigeria.

“The current instability as witnessed in the Southeast today is not only as a result of obsolete and crumbling security architecture but gross mal-administration and leadership failure at all strata of government in the country and the insincerity of the political class.

The youths, made up of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth wing, National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN, Nigerian Youth Congress, NYC, Association of South East Town Union Youth wing, ASETU and the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, also commended the governors and legislators of Abia and Enugu state for signing the anti-open grazing bill into law and called on their counterparts in Anambra, Imo and Ebonyi to expedite actions in ensuring their anti-open grazing bills were passed and signed into law.

“The arrest and continued detention without arraignment of our brother Nnamdi Kanu has led to civil unrest and disobedience in the southeast, we therefore call on the federal government to make available all necessary logistics needed for the timely and speedy trial of Nnamdi Kanu which must be fair and in accordance with laid down laws of the country. Furthermore, we call on the Federal Government to exhibit similar dexterity shown in Nnamdi Kanu case in other regions of the country.

“We have noted with great dismay and disappointment, the failure of the Southeast governors to activate and implement the Southeast Security Network known as Ebubeagu, we call for revisit of this security architecture in southeast where the youths must be included in the design and implementation of the said security network and a proper legislation be enacted for that purpose in all the southeast states,” they said.

Meanwhile, the South East caucus of the National Assembly has condemned in strongest terms the incessant killings in the South East. In its review of developments in the South East, particularly the security situation in the region vis-à-vis the sit-at-home orders and the detention of Nnamdi Kanu at an extraordinary session on Wednesday, September 15, 2021, the Caucus expressed solidarity with the people of the South East over the marginalisation of the region in the scheme of things within the Nigerian commonwealth.

"The Caucus feels the pains of our people and their quest for equity, justice, and protection of their lives and property in every part of the country. The Caucus, therefore, resolved to continue to fight for a level-playing ground and an enabling federal system where Ndigbo are able to develop their homeland at their own pace and equally pursue their happiness and actaulise their enormous potential in every part of the country, unmolested,’’ the group said in a statement.

The lawmakers reviewed the sit-at-home orders by the IPOB and the mayhem some nefarious elements have seized the opportunity to visit on the lives, properties, and psyche of our people as well as the incalculable economic losses and hardships these have brought upon the region and condemned in strongest terms the disruption of the ongoing Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination in some parts of the South East, particularly the incident at Comprehensive Secondary School, Nkume, Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, where the English examination organised by the West Africa Examination Council, WAEC, on Monday, September 13, 2021, was ruthlessly scuttled by armed men, who chased away the students, teachers, and examiners before setting ablaze motorcycles belonging to the teachers.

“This is certainly not who we are as a people. On the contrary, we are a people, who have always cherished and encouraged learning from the ages. We are a people that fully appreciate the place of education in the liberation and enlightenment of the human mind and the socio-economic and political emancipation of a people.

"Equally condemned in strongest terms the incessant killings in the South East. This must stop immediately. We call on the security agencies to unravel the culprits behind these wicked acts and ensure that they are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others,” the statement said.

The lawmakers noted with delight that IPOB has called off the Monday sit-at-home order and resolved to ensure that nobody uses them as façades to bring ruination on Igbo land. They, however, called on the people of the zone to go about their lawful businesses and enjoined the governors and the security agencies to rebuild confidence in the people by not only ensuring the security of their lives and properties, but also ensuring that our people feel safe as they undertake their legitimate businesses.

They disclosed that the issue of Nnamdi Kanu was discussed and that they resolved to intervene by setting up “a committee to constructively interface with relevant stakeholders, the federal government and its relevant agencies towards finding a political solution. We will keep Ndigbo abreast of developments in this regard”.

The lawmakers also appealed to the people not to allow anyone to destroy the South East region. “The post-war South East was not built through government patronage, but largely by the sheer determination and sacrifices of our people, who refused to resign to fate or bow their heads in defeat. It is in Igbo land that you easily find hospitals, schools, roads, and other social amenities built by individual or communal efforts of the people, home and abroad, through the instruments of the town unions and other community organisations such as the age grades, Umuada, etc. The result is the comparative transformation witnessed in every nook and cranny of Igbo land post-civil war. Therefore, as a people, we cannot begin to undermine ourselves or become our own nemesis,” they said, adding that they would join hands with other patriotic Nigerians across regional, religious, political, and ethnic divides “to reconstruct a federal system where our rights, happiness, and prosperity and those of our unborn generations are guaranteed".

In its editorial entitled South East and sit-at-home violence”, The Nation newspaper of September 19, 2021 noted that what has been on display in the South East “is crass ignorance” since the sit-at-home protests do not affect the perceived oppressors. It is the ordinary people of the region that bear the brunt of the action.

“Besides, the action has seriously affected the economy of the South East. According to the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, not less than N10 billion is lost in the region every day the order is enforced. The harm to the economy may be higher than estimated. Investment in the region has been affected too.

“More worrisome is denying students the opportunity to take WASC exams. This does not make sense as it amounts to toying with the future of these children and that of our society. It is unacceptable,” it said, urging IPOB to think of other non-violent strategies to carry out its agitations.

“Using sit-at-home tactics and enforcing it with killings and destruction of property cannot resolve any issue. The organisation should fish out the criminals who have used its name to enforce unauthorised orders. It should also stop giving conflicting orders and avoid violence and intimidation in their agitation. It does not make sense to drive fear into the same people you claim to be fighting for. Above all, the South East governors must sit up and ensure real governance in the region. Let them ensure security for all citizens,” the editorial added.

- Sept. 20, 2021 @ 17:50 GMT |


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