By Alex Enebeli
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, has urged Igbos to discountenance the two weeks “Sit-at-home“ order by the factional leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Simon Ekpa.
The organisation implored all the sons and daughters of Igboland to go about their lawful businesses.
This is contained in a statement by the group’s President-General,Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, on Monday in Enugu.
Iwuanyanwu, while condemning the incessant call for “Sit-at-home“ in the South-East by Ekpa, estimated that no fewer than 250 people in the region had lost their lives through the enforcement of the order.
He said it was very disheartening that the people of South-East were being subjected to hardships by the incessant calls for “Sit-at-home“ and stressed that several non-state actors, in an attempt to enforce the order, had unleashed mayhem on the people.
He described the development as ‘unfortunate’.
“As a result, several people have been killed, maimed and properties worth millions of naira have been destroyed.
“In addition, the order has been instilling fears and trepidation in the good people of the zone, making it difficult for people to come out to transact their lawful businesses on the “Sit-at-home“ days,” he said.
The president-general of the Igbo group said the region was noted for micro, small and medium-scale enterprises, indigenous manufacturing, fabrication and agro-allied industries.
Several authorities, according to him, have put the losses encountered by the people of zone at trillions of naira each day the “Sit-at- home“ is enforced.
`The South-East has witnessed loss of clients and customers who find alternatives because of the unstable business environment in the zone …Food transporters to the South-East charge more for a trip to the Igboland because of these “Sit-at-home“ orders.
“Furthermore, the insecurity and unknown gunmen have been on the increase because of the “Sit-at-home“ order and it is saddening to see that Mr Simon Ekpa has announced another two weeks “Sit-at-home“ in the South-East.
“This is unacceptable and must not be allowed to succeed in Igboland,” Iwuanyanwu said.
Iwuanyanwu explained that a few days ago, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed IPOB, on whose behalf Ekpa claimed to be working, had directed the said Simon Ekpa “to end all sit-at-home in the South-East.
According him, Kanu urged Ekpa to stop antagonising the governors of the South-East or politicians from the region.
He said it was very disturbing that at a time the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide was engaging the Igbo entrepreneurs all over the world, on a “Think-Home“ philosophy, a foreign-based Igbo was bent on destabilising the home front.
“It is evident that the series of sit-at- home order is affecting the social and economic life of the Igbos and it is not to the advantage of the Igbos.
“As a father, I hereby request Mr Simon Ekpa and his group for a discussion and an opportunity to air their grievances.
“I urge the security operatives to exercise the highest degree of prudence in the discharge of their official duties to avoid further loss of innocent lives in Igboland.
“’I wish on behalf of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide to commend the South-East Governors in their effort to put a stop to the sit-at-home order.
“My sympathy goes to the families who had lost loved ones and properties during this sad and unfortunate events,“ Iwuanyanwu said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Abdulfatai Beki/Kingsley Kubeyinje