Governor Peter Mba’s effort to end the ongoing sit-at-home in Enugu State is a right step in the right direction. Mbah had earlier in June declared an end to sit-at-home in the state, effective from June 5, 2023, saying such orders were restricting creativity, entrepreneurship and productivity in the state.
The government’s decision to end the order a month after assumption of office was received with mixed feelings by residents. With this development, those residing in Enugu are thrown between the devil and the turbulent deep blue sea. Ideally, government does not have to share citizens’ allegiance to it with any person or group. However, the situation is slightly different and very precarious too.
The sit-at-home order, according to IPOB, is their own unique way of impressing on the federal government to release their leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who was extradited by the Nigerian authorities from Kenya in 2021 and is still held in the custody of the Directorate of State Services (DSS).
Mba who, upon assumption of office made the end of sit-at-home a top priority of his administration, has declared that Enugu loses over N10 billion to the sit-at-home every Monday.
He, therefore, directed all civil servants to resume duties on Monday and encouraged citizens to go about their normal businesses as well. Mba further directed that civil servants who violate his order will be summarily dismissed while businessmen who close their shops will be dealt with accordingly.
Letters were sent to private schools, banks and other privately owned businesses to comply, failure of which their businesses will cease to exist in the state.
Ndi-Enugu clearly understood the position of the governor as a leader whose authority is undermined by a man in detention and somebody resident in faraway Finland. Enugu people are very enterprising but only the living go to work and the market.
The people are concerned about the aftermath of complying with government directives vis-à-vis the weak response of security agencies to the publicly known brutal actions taken by those enforcing the sit-at-home order against people going about their regular businesses.
Many people have lost their lives while relying on the previous government’s order to go about their businesses – unfortunately, they never lived to tell the stories.
People choose to stay back at home not because they do not suffer the pains and agony associated with the sit-at-home but for the fact that they have lost confidence in the ability of the government to protect them. Some have decided to take a rest on Mondays while many others do so in solidarity with IPOB.
The bottom line remains that the government has not built such confidence and trust that could possibly trigger the desired belief in its ability to protect the lives and properties of citizens. Therefore, government and security agencies should drop every show of force and continue to engage with the citizens.
Even the governor who goes about to monitor compliance does so with the security paraphernalia of his office for protection from harm and injury. Could the same or a semblance of such security cover be availed an ordinary woman selling vegetables at the New Market? Here lies the crux of the matter.
Sunday Onyemaechi Eze, wrote via [email protected]