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The ban on Monday sit-at-home by the Enugu State Government has been endorsed by stakeholders and representatives of various bodies, institutions, organisations, associations, professional bodies, government officials, and heads of security and intelligence agencies who rose from a town-hall meeting in Enugu saying it was detrimental to productivity, investment flow, and the Igbo spirit of creativity, entrepreneurship and commerce.
The town-hall called on members of the public to resume work and go about their normal daily businesses as various security and intelligence agencies have, in their joint and collaborative efforts, given assurances of citizens’ safety.
The town-hall equally backed and commended Governor Mbah “for the laudable steps taken so far to ensure peace is returned to the state, which include his recent visit to the President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for the release of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’, which the stakeholders said would ‘expedite the process of national healing, national integration, and national reconciliation’.
This was even as Governor Peter Mbah described the syndrome as a setback to the delivery of the campaign promises of his administration, noting that the state had lost N10 billion on each Monday.
On his part, the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State Command, Mr. Ahmed Ammani, who spoke on behalf of the heads of security agencies in the state, said that the South East region had lost well over N5.375 trillion to illegal sit-at-home, urging the people to go about their lawful businesses as the heads of the security agencies had “galvanized the personnel, operational and intelligence resources of the agencies, and deployed them towards ensuring adequate security and safety of the people.
The stakeholders made their stand known in the communiqué adopted at a town-hall meeting organised by the Enugu State Government at the Old Government Lodge, Enugu, on Saturday.
The stakeholders, after extensive and exhaustive deliberations at the town-hall, which also had Governor Mbah; the Deputy Governor, Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai; Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Ammani, clergies, town union Presidents-General, traditional rulers, labour, and market unions, students and youths, among others, in attendamnce, equally gave their total supports to “any security measure or measures and other steps the State Government deems necessary in order to end the Monday sit-at-home and get people back to work in the overall interest of the state and its residents”.
While urging the security agencies to continue to work round the clock in order to reassure citizens and residents of their safety every day of the week, the town-hall equally called on the Enugu State government to ‘resuscitate, overhaul, rejig and strengthen internal security mechanisms, such as the Community Policing, Neighbourhood Watch, Forest Guards, amongst others, in the state’.
They called on members of the public to support the crime fighting efforts of the government and security agencies by sharing information on suspicious movements and gatherings by strange persons or groups of persons in any part or borders of the state.
While emphasising more public enlightenment on the adverse impacts of sit-at-home on Enugu State, it urged persons and groups with genuine grievances to take the opportunity of dialogue offered by the Government of Enugu State to engage the government on their grievances to ensure lasting peace and security in the state.
Meanwhile, in his opening remarks, Governor Peter Mbah, who praised the people of Enugu State and security agencies for the relative success of the first Monday after the abolition of the sit-at-home, put the cost of each sit-at-home at N10 billion, saying the state could not hit the $30 billion gross domestic product (GDP) target set by his administration at that rate.
‘If we take the impact the Monday sit-at-home has on our GDP, you will then begin to see why it is almost impossible for all of us.
‘We have proposed to grow our GDP from the current level of $4.4 billion to $30 billion. That growth is going to come from the private sector. And the private sector will not come to Enugu to reside their business if they know that we do not have five workdays, which is obtainable elsewhere’, he said.
Mbah, who further lamented the grave consequences of sit-at-home on the future Enugu children and psyche of the people, added that the deliverables by his administration were equally hinged on the ability of the state to work on Mondays.
‘We have a bargain that water will flow in your homes in Enugu city in 180 days and I am sure that you won’t take any excuses. But if you look at the number of Mondays that we will lose if we continue with this practice of sit-at-home, we will be denied about 20 Mondays. But what we want to do is to make sure that water is flowing in your homes in 180 days.
‘So, I am calling on us to rise to the occasion, to understand that this is about us, this is about our children, and our children’s future and we can’t not afford to fail them’, he concluded.
The 21 signatories to the communiqué, who were equally among the speakers at the town-hall, included the Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, Ahmed Ammani; Anglican Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Most Revd Emmanuel Chukwuma; Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, Enugu State, Rev. Emmanuel Edeh; Coordinating Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Enugu State, Barr. Ugo Ferdinand Ukwueze; Coordinator, Financial Institutions in Enugu State, Prince Chiwetalu Nwatu; HRH Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu for the Enugu State Traditional Rulers Council; and Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, Hon. Solomon Onah;
Others included the Chairman, the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Enugu State, Chief Martins Asogwa; Sammy Ajufor for the media community; President of Enugu State Amalgamated Traders Association, Comrade Stephen Aniagu; Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, Enugu State, Barr. Fabian Nwigbo; Chairman of the Enugu State chapter of the Trade Union Congress, Comrade Ben Asogwa; Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers in Enugu State, Comrade Nweke Odoh; Chairman of the Enugu State chapter of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Comrade Ebuka Okoh, Chairman of the Association of Presidents-General of Enugu State Town Unions, Barr. Paully Eze; and Chairman, Tricycle Riders Association, Comrade Monday Onwuka.
The Chairman, Inter-Party Advisory Council, Enugu State, Comrade Edwin Ikechukwu; Chairperson of Nsukka Traders Association, Hon. Ngozi Ozioko; leader of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Enugu State, Comrade Ugochukwu Anichukwu, were equally among the signatories.