Sit-at-Home: Complaints Galore As Small Businesses Suffer Heavy Losses in Southeast

Sit-at-Home: Complaints Galore As Small Businesses Suffer Heavy Losses in Southeast

  • During the last three months, residents in the southeast region of the country have largely stayed indoors
  • A sit-at-home order announced and enforced by IPOB has now taken a life of its own after it was hijacked by thugs
  • It is now complaints galore in the region as small business owners groan under very harsh economic conditions

Onitsha - Since July, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), which is agitating for secession, has issued sit-at-home directives to people across the southeast region.

The restrictions were imposed following the repatriation from Kenya of the group’s leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, to face trial on seven charges, including terrorism and treason.

Nnamdi Kanu
IPOB had earlier used the Mondays sit-at-home to protest against the continued detention of Nnamdi Kanu. Photo credit: Marco Longari/AFP
Source: Getty Images

Many residents of the region told Al Jazeera that the lockdowns are now having a severe economic impact on them.

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In August, IPOB claimed to have called off the sit-at-home orders, but many still comply, fearing retribution from thugs who seem to have hijacked the lockdown

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Small business owners lament over sit-at-home action

Newman Nwankwo, a 34-year old businessman who runs a small chain of Point of Sale (POS) shops in Onitsha, said:

“Onitsha is heavily dependent on its market activities [so] everybody loses money every Monday, from the government to even tomato sellers.”

One small business owner in Enugu said the stay-at-home order may stem from valid grievances with Nigeria’s federal government, but is ultimately harming the wrong people.

He said

“It’s all self-inflicted pain. I don’t know how sustainable this is because it has led to a lot of uncertainty. There are legitimate grievances that we all have in Nigeria today but this does not affect people that you have grievances with.”

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Mbaka commends IPOB for cancelling Mondays sit-at-home in southeast

Traders continue to sit-at-home due to fear of reprisals

Daily Sun newspaper reports that despite the call by Ohanaeze Ndigbo and state governments to stop Monday’s sit-at-home, traders and residents of major cities in the southeast shut down major markets, schools, banks, and other business places to defy the order.

According to the report, there were, however, skeletal services in some areas in the region.

Recall that traditional and religious leaders from the southeast recently thanked IPOB for reiterating their cancellation of the sit-at-home orders on Mondays in the region.

Spokesmen of the leaders; Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, His Grace, Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, His Grace Chibuzo Okpoko, among others, commended IPOB for listening to their appeal to call off the sit-at-home order.

They, however, stated that the difficulties experienced by lawyers of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, in the Federal High Court should be addressed immediately by the federal government.

Read also

Southeast leaders hail IPOB for cancelling sit-at-home, asks FG to protect Kanu's lawyers

Fr. Mbaka speaks on sit-at-home action in the southeast

Similarly, the spiritual director, Adoration Ministry Enugu, Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka has commended IPOB for cancelling Monday's sit-at-home in the southeast region.

According to the popular Catholic priest, the weekly exercise was becoming a problem instead of a solution.

The priest also warned the federal government not to allow anything to happen to IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who is in the custody of the Department of State Services, noting that should anything untoward happen to him there would be more trouble for the country.


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