The Governor Peter Mbah-led Enugu State government on Monday shut down no fewer than 106 shops and two banks in the state for allegedly observing Monday’s sit-at-home order by Finland-based Simon Ekpa – the self-acclaimed disciple of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

The exercise was carried out by officials of the Enugu State Government and Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA).

Recall that Governor Mbah had on Monday last week threatened to sanction shop owners and banks that observed the illegal sit-at-home order and refuse to open for business on Mondays in the state.

The governor had issued the threat while monitoring people’s compliance with his order banning the illegal sit-at-home order in major markets in Enugu, the capital city.

Governor Mbah said that the traders who continued to obey the order up until July 24 stood to lose their shops to serious-minded businessmen.

The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Chidiebere Onyia, who led the exercise on Monday said that the action was in line with the governor’s warning, adding that the governor’s intention was not to punish businesses but to encourage and inculcate the spirit of ‘no sit-at-home’ in traders.

The SSG said, “It is not a punitive but ownership culture, where all of us come together to fight the menace of illegal sit-at-home in the state.

“We are taking it up not because Mbah is in the business of stopping economic growth but to fight those that think they can intimidate us.”

Onyia further said that the task force created by the State Government would be in the markets next Monday to continue to monitor the situation.

According to him, “We have been to ShopRite, Celebrity – a shopping mall – SPAR and others, we saw shops that were not opened and we sealed them.

“That is why ECTDA is here and the owners should go through a process to get them reopened.”

He noted that 85 percent of traders showed up in the markets visited, adding that Governor Mbah had made a commitment by providing security and buses at specific places to convey workers to the state Secretariat.
According to Onyia, the measure became necessary because the state was tired of losing significant revenue by working for only four days a week.

Speaking on why the state government unsealed Easter Shop earlier, the SSG said that the management of the mall gave an assurance to open every Monday.

Also addressing journalists at the end of the exercise, the Head of ECTDA, Mr Gideon Onyia, said that the affected shops were both corporate and privately owned, saying that 78 shops were sealed at the popular Ogbete Market, while two new generation banks, five shops at SPAR and 24 shops at the Old Artisan Market were also shut down.

The ECTDA boss said, “So if you failed to obey our rules and directives, we can revoke them or withdraw your approvals and give them to people who are eager to do business in the state.

“Those whose shops are sealed, we will tell them the penalty but the governor was magnanimous for saying that the exercise was not punitive.”

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