GOVENOR Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State has warned that the economy of the southeast geo-political zone could soon collapse if the ongoing sit-ins being called by the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) kept being heeded.
Highly popular across the zone, Ipob has called for stay-at-home sit-ins every Monday in response to the abduction and arrest of its leader Nnamdi Kanu in Kenya earlier this year. Mr Kanu was drugged and flown to Abuja where he is now facing reason charges and to protest his arrest, Ipob called for a commercial shutdown every Monday.
Although Ipob has since asked that the sit-ins only be observed on days when Mr Kanu appears in court, across the southeast, most markets and cities still remain shut every Monday. Today for instance, there was widespread compliance with the sit-at-home directive and leaders like Governor Umahi are now fearful that the development could bring their administrations to their knees.
According to Governor Umahi, the sir-at-home directives are still being adhered to because of a question of fear. Holding a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on the matter, Governor Umahi warned that if the situation does not change, the economy of the southeast will be affected.
Governor Umahi said: “It is a question of fear. You know, the easiest thing to do is to carry a weapon and kill somebody and that’s what happened in the past and that’s why some people in the southeast are afraid of coming out. So it’s not a question of compliance, it’s a question of fear.
“You’ll find out that no southeast man wants to miss a day of work. They like to work, they are into trade, commerce and they want to earn their daily living. This is something that the nation Nigeria must know and it’s something that security agencies must know.
“Security agencies must know that they owe the southeast people the duty to protect their lives and this is the reason why it appears that in some states, there is compliance to sit at home, even though Ipob said it’s suspended. However, it’s the worst thing to happen to the southeast because it will destroy the economy.”