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The government of Enugu State, on Tuesday, explained that the sealing of 102 shops in the state for failure to comply with Governor Peter Mbah’s directive against Monday sit-at-home was not in any way a punitive measure.
Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof Chidiebere Onyia, pointed out that the action was carried out to ensure shop owners comply with the governor’s ban on sit-at-home in the state, adding that it was to fight those whose mission is to intimidate the people. Onyia had, on Monday, led an enforcement team to seal shops that did not comply with Mbah’s directive to open.
The Eastern Updates reports that the action had elicited criticisms, as many accused the governor of compounding the woes of the people.
Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Frank Nweke jr., who commended the move to end the observance of sit-at-home, however, added that sealing businesses for not opening further compels the shop owners to stay home.
He said: ‘Our people sit at home on Mondays for fear of being attacked by hoodlums. Businesses are set up for profit. Shutting businesses would be counterproductive. Every time business owners sit at home, their propensity to make profit is being undermined. However, it is only someone who is alive that can open a business to make profit. There are genuine reasons to be fearful.
‘The ongoing efforts by the government are commendable. In addition to mobilising security services, the government must work to earn the trust of citizens. Trust cannot be earned by force. It cannot be decreed. Overturning these two years of fear will require some level of patience.’
In the meantime, the state government has announced that sealed shops would remain under lock and key for the next one week.
Also, it was learnt that affected shop owners are expected to provide their current tax clearance certificates and other relevant revenue documents to enable the state government to reopen their shops.
These were contained in a statement issued by the SSG, yesterday, which was made available to journalists.