…Let Your People Own The Process
Prominent pro-Democracy group- Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) has urged the Enugu State governor Mr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah not to legitimise the illegal activities of Simon Ekpa who promotes the destruction of South East from his cosy home in Finland but to hold broad-based consultative engagements with the masses of Enugu State through their credible platforms to win their hearts and minds towards repudiation of calls for the illegal sit-at-home orders.
HURIWA said the use of pseudo-force or straight jacketed approaches such as locking up the business premises of fearful traders who comply to the illegal order to sit at home as issued intermittently by the Finland based self-styled disciple of Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), would amount to the infliction of further economic adversities and may be deemed unnecessary violent burden which would make Simon Ekpa look like a Saint in the eyes of the suffering masses of South East of Nigeria.
HURIWA which Condemns the illegal orders for Sit-at-home by Simon Ekpa, applauded the determination of the Enugu State governor to kick-start the commercial life of Enugu State and defeat the atmosphere of fear, apprehension and worry that pervade Enugu State just like other Igbo State due to the dare-devil activities of armed foot-soldiers of the Finland based Simon Ekpa, but HURIWA said the pursuit of a quick end to the insanity and violence by the followers of the renegade Simon Ekpa won’t happen by the deployment of means that are coercive, brutal, brutish, deadly and bloody.
HURIWA further condemned the killing by alleged security forces of some traders at the Ogbete Market in Enugu during a protest against the locking up of their shops by the state government as penalty for complying with last Monday’s illegal Sit-at-home order.
The Rights group counselled the governor to identify those who died, pay visits to their families and pay financial compensation to their immediate surviving families just as the killers within the security forces must be identified, prosecuted and punished for wrongful use of lethal weapon in a crowded market place.
HURIWA wondered why rubber-bullets were not used but rather the security forces deployed to quell the market protest resorted to the use of life bullets. HURIWA warned the police authority to enforce the rules of engagements in any internal security operation by their operatives and avoid the use of lethal weapons in crowded places especially when the lives of the police operatives are not endangered.
HURIWA recalled that information in a section of the media stated that two traders from Ogbete Market, Enugu State, were shot dead on Wednesday while they were protesting the sealing of their shops by the state government. The state government, on Monday, sealed two commercial banks and 107 shops for observing last Monday’s sit-at-home order in the state.
HURIWA recalled that the illegal sit-at-home was declared by a faction of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), even as the government, on Tuesday, announced that all the sealed shops and banks would remain closed for one week and would only be considered for reopening if the owners produce tax clearance certificates and other relevant documents.
HURIWA which suggested that the protest by traders may have been caused by their frustration due to the government’s action, and they therefore called for the reversal of the decision. HURIWA said that several video clips which showed the traders protesting have been trending on social media. In one of the clips in circulation the traders were chanting “No more Peter Mbah,” “We no go gree,” among others. Besides, the traders brandished sticks and waved placards with various inscriptions, such as “Don’t seal our shops again”, as they walked through the streets.
HURIWA is pleading with the Enugu state governor to work on the modalities and strategies of reaching out directly to the masses and getting their by-in and comprehensive endorsement because the drive by the Enugu State governor to halt the illegal sit-at-home orders by Simon Ekpa is directly aimed at stopping the concomitant economic hardship unleashed on the traders not just in Enugu but the entire Igbo region.
HURIWA said deployment of acts deemed as coercive against the traders or workers in other private sector businesses in Enugu will be counter productive since it will not be any different from the use of brute force inflicted on the people by armed members of a faction of IPOB loyal to Simon Ekpa bent on destabilising the South-East of Nigeria.
“Governor Peter Mbah should therefore work on the strategies that will create a public atmosphere of acceptance of his template aimed at the restoration of commercial normalcy in Enugu State. The use of any kind of force or enforcement of any draconian measures such as sealing up the business premises of those who stay away on Monday for fear of attack by the renegade enforcers of the illegal sit-at-home orders by Simon Ekpa, must be absolutely avoided because violence begets violence.”