Anambra State governor, Willie Obiano and his Ebonyi State counterpart, David Umahi, have lamented the untold losses suffered by their states and the Southeast in general following the continuation of the Sit-at-home order issued by the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to press for the release of their detained leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
The governors feared that the directive could completely ground economic activities of the region if not immediately stopped.
Umahi described the losses suffered by Ebonyi State as unimaginable regretting that the sit-at-home protests have decimated the economy of the Southeast.
Disturbed that the protests are taking the turn for the worse, Anambra government yesterday declared that the state has had enough of the IPOB-induced Sit-at-home protests on Mondays.
It asked banks and traders to ignore further threats by the outlawed group and resume normal business activities from Monday.
Governor Willie Obiano threatened to seal any bank or market that joins in the protest again.
Obiano had met with stakeholders in the state over the implications of the weekly Sit-at-home protest.
The Nation gathered that the state may have cumulatively lost N30billion since the first ‘Black Monday’ as IPOB called its protest on August 9.
The group said its action was to pressurize the Federal Government to release its detained leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who is facing treasonable charges in Abuja.
“The markets should open. If they do not open, I would sack the leadership of the market and shut the market,” Obiano told traders at a meeting.
“Invisible voice says ‘sit at home?’ And, you just comply and lose money. You don’t know who says sit-at-home, you just lose money.
“You need to help us to solve this nonsense. It is absolute nonsense. That’s a warning. If you don’t do that, we will change your leadership,”
Information and Public Enlightenment Commissioner, C Don Adinuba, in a statement in Awka at the end of a meeting with security heads said “all markets as well as motor parks and commercial vehicles are henceforth to operate fully every Monday and any other weekday except any day declared work-free by the appropriate authorities.”
He added: “Before Governor Willie Obiano led a meeting yesterday between heads of security agencies and bank executives in the state, including those from the Awka branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria, he had personally held frank and rewarding discussions with a large spectrum of leaders of the transport union and market association in Anambra State on why they had for the past five weeks been shutting down their businesses every Monday.
“The transporters, for instance, attributed their action to the inability of commuters to come out for regular business owing to fear of attacks by unknown gunmen while traders explained that without banks opening on any day, it was difficult to keep proceeds of the day in a safe place. The bankers, on their part, argued that without markets opening and people going about their normal business, there was no need to open their doors to the public.
“It is axiomatic that the good people of Anambra State and, indeed, the Southeast have for the past five weeks been grappling with a vicious cycle on a grand scale. Some pupils have missed terminal examinations, with all the grave implications for the competitiveness of the youngsters and for the future of our state. A number of small-scale restaurateurs have had their entire investments destroyed by these non-state actors for coming out to pursue their legitimate business, through which they feed their families, pay house rents, pay for the education of their children and take care of friends, relatives, associates and other dependents. Some have lost their cars and motorcycles, their sole means of livelihood, to these non-state actors. The less lucky ones have lost their limbs and even lives most gruesomely in other parts of the Southeast.
“Since no responsible government can stand akimbo while the future of its people is destroyed gratuitously, Governor Obiano held useful discussions in the last couple of days with relevant groups with a view to freeing members to pursue their legitimate businesses. After all, the leadership of the organization on whose instructions some persons claim to enforce the stay-at-home order has since rescinded the order.
“The Anambra State Government directive to banks, traders, transporters, other groups and individuals to resume full economic activity throughout the week with effect from Monday, September 13, 2021, was informed by the yearnings of these stakeholders. Adequate arrangements have been made with all security and intelligence agencies to provide adequate security for the people of Anambra State. All dark spots in the state have been identified and far-reaching measures taken to end the blights.
“Any person who observes any action that can lead to a breach of security is advised to immediately contact the Anambra State Police Control Room, regardless of the time of the day, on 07039194332. The Police Control Room is open 24 hours of the day and responds swiftly to every call. Ours is a state governed by the rule of law, order and civilized values.”
An Economist, Mrs Chika Opara, told The Nation that the state alone may have lost more than N30 billion on account of the protest adding that the sit-at-home had taken a toll on Southeast economy
She said the situation had collapsed the economy of Ndigbo, while pleading with those in authority to step up and rescue the people
Opara said, if not checked, the Southeast situation would be worse than what was experienced during the civil war in the next few months
Ebonyi: Our losses are unimaginable
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State said the sit-at-home protests have decimated the economy of the Southeast.
He said the group does not have the interest of the region at heart warning that the group will end up destroying the region if not checkmated.
Federal Ministries, Agencies and Departments, according to him, no longer come to the state to carry out their functions.
He said:”The economy of the Southeast will be destroyed by the reason of very few that are self- seeking. We are known for trade and anyone advocating for sit-at-home in Southeast is evil because Southeast has not caused the problem of anybody.
“If anybody is waging war, that war cannot be in Southeast. It is important that our people should understand what is going on. It is not in the interest of Southeast”
“You can’t kill the people and destroy the economy and say you are fighting for the people. We must rise to say no to this evil plan to destroy our economy and destroy our people.
Commissioner for Commerce, Stephen Odoh said the losses are unimaginable.
He said his Ministry is still compiling data on the sit-at-home to find out the total of losses incurred by the state as a result of the exercise.
The Imo State government last week sealed some banks in Owerri as punishment for observing the sit-at-home protests.
It said its action was to let the banks appreciate the frustration they had caused customers on Monday by refusing to open for transactions.