The Igbo apex socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has condemned the killing of some traders in Enugu State while protesting against the closure of their businesses by the state Governor, Peter Mbah, for obeying the illegal sit-at-home order by Simon Ekpa-led pro-Biafra agitators.
It was reported on Monday that the state government declared war on residents and private businesses that failed to open for business on Monday in obedience to Ekpa’s sit-at-home order.
It was reported that Governor Mbah ordered the closure of several shops and malls on Monday, accusing them of observing the illegal sit-at-home exercise called for by Ekpa.
On Wednesday, it was reported that no fewer than two traders were reportedly killed while several other people were injured in a protest following the indefinite closure of Ogbete Main Market in the State by Governor Mbah over noncompliance with his ban on the illegal sit-at-home.
Reacting to the development in the state, Ohanaeze Ndigbo factional Secretary-General, Okechukwu Isiguzoro, condemned the killing of the protesting traders and suggested ‘better’ approaches in which Governor Mbah should adopt to end the sit-at-home order in the State.
Demanding unconditional reopening of all the sealed shops and businesses by the State Government, Ohanaeze Ndigbo asked Governor Mbah to engage the organisation and residents of the State in a dialogue to come up with a lasting solution rather than closing their businesses.
The organisation asked Governor Mbah to dialogue with residents, address their grievances, engage the youths, create awareness and empower the residents.
Isiguzoro stated that “Ohanaeze Ndigbo is willing to assist Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State in finding ways to end the sit-at-home order and civil disobedience without casualties or penalties on the residents.
“A close-door meeting with critical stakeholders, including Ohanaeze Ndigbo, can indeed be a constructive step towards resolving the issue.
“Drawing from the experience of Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s assistance to the Abia State Government from June 2016- May 2023, in minimising the effects of sit-at-home and addressing the activities of Biafra agitators, the following approaches can be considered:
“Dialogue and engagement: The Enugu State government should engage in meaningful dialogue with relevant stakeholders to understand their concerns and work towards finding mutually acceptable solutions. Open communication channels can help build trust and confidence among the residents.
“Addressing grievances: The government should address the grievances of the traders whose shops were sealed. Ohanaeze Ndigbo demands the unconditional reopening of the all sealed Enugu shops and Governor Mbah should provide compensation or assistance to affected traders, as it can help restore their confidence in the government’s intentions.
“Youth engagement: Engaging the youth in meaningful activities, such as skills training, entrepreneurship programs, and educational opportunities, can help divert their energy towards more productive endeavors. Providing platforms for youth voices to be heard and addressing their concerns can also contribute to reducing the appeal of civil disobedience.
“Empowerment initiatives: Implementing empowerment initiatives targeted at vulnerable communities can help address the underlying socio-economic issues that contribute to civil unrest. This can include providing access to basic amenities, creating employment opportunities, and promoting inclusive policies.
“Public education and awareness: Launching public education campaigns to raise awareness about the negative consequences of civil disobedience and the importance of peaceful coexistence can help change public perceptions. This can be done through various media platforms, community gatherings, and educational institutions.
“It is important for Governor Peter Mba to actively involve Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other critical stakeholders in the decision-making process. By working together, engaging in dialogue, and implementing targeted interventions; it is possible to find sustainable solutions that promote peace, unity, and the well-being of the Enugu residents.”