From Geoffrey Anynwu, Francis Amedu, Wisdom Udeh and Chelsea Agu, Enugu
The possibility of the sit-at-home order issued by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for Monday and any other day that its leader, Nnamdi Kanu would appear in court taking effect in Enugu State seems slim as the market executives in the state have said that they had no directive from the government to close the markets.
However, the stand of the executives is against the will of the other traders who would want the markets closed tomorrow in solidarity with IPOB and its leader, Kanu.
Traders who spoke to Sunday Sun regretted that the market executives take instructions and orders from the state government hence making nonsense of the will of the traders in matters in the markets.
The traders were not alone in this determination to show solidarity to Kanu, as some motorists who spoke to our reporters said that they were willing and ready to sit-at-home tomorrow and when next they were required to do so until the IPOB leader is released.
When Sunday Sun visited the Ogbete Main Market Enugu, to ascertain if the markets in the state, especially Ogbete, would be closed tomorrow, the chairman was not around, but a senior executive of the market who did not want his name on print said that the market will be opened.
He said: “We only take orders from the government and no one else, because they are the owner of the market. If there is violence in the market, it is the duty of the security to take care of it. The traders have nothing to worry about.
“The market authorities have not issued anything about closing the market. The market belongs to the government of the state. The directives come from the government and once they give order that is what we will do. There is no official order yet and on Monday business will go on as usually and I believe that.”
But expressing the mind of the majority of the traders, the chairman of Abuja First Express Line, Mr Okolo Christopher, said that the traders were ready to show solidarity because Kanu was fighting for the right of Ndigbo.
He said: “Yes they (IPOB) have said it and we supported it, though it will affect the traders. If they want, let it be on Mondays and Tuesdays no problem provided that we find what we are searching for. You know the market is for the government so they may open the gate for traders to come, but the real traders won’t open their shops. Even if customers come you won’t see anybody to sell to you, so coming is a waste of time.”
Okolo who lamented the bad situation of the country, especially the marginalization of Ndigbo said that closing market might hurt, but they should do something to show that they were not happy the way the Southeast was being treated in the country.
“I have said it before, they (government) will open the gate of the markets, but the traders that know what we are fighting for will not be here. The main people that make up this market won’t be here. We love the idea and that is why we said we aren’t coming out, it is for our own good. They are not doing it to harm us. Though we know that it is here we are getting what we eat, but it won’t harm us. We are trying to ensure a better future for our people.
“We are bothered even closing the market for one hour, but for the fact that we know what we are fighting for, we can close it even for five days, it won’t be a problem to us,” he said.
Another trader in the market, Mr Ezike Emmanuel, in his own reaction said: “Nnamdi Kanu is my brother and he is fighting for the rights of the people in the Southeast. The Igbo have been marginalized since, but it got worse since the Buhari regime, starting with the federal roads and the appointment of officials in federal offices. I am in full support of Nnamdi Kanu since he is fighting for the right of the Southeast, but closing the market won’t be the best option because people will still suffer the economic effects.”
A motorist at the Faith Travels and Tours Company, who pleaded anonymous, said that he was in full support of the Nnamdi Kanu movement, stressing that if there was a closure of the market on Mondays he would obey to show his solidarity to the movement.
He noted that the Igbo have been marginalized since the end of the war, but “the government will deceive everyone with the phrase of ‘One Nigeria.’”
An Okada rider who also supported the sit-at-home said: “If we can close shops for few days for him (Kanu) to be released that will be fine. The issue at stake is for him to be released that is what we want.
“Closing the market will definitely achieve our aim. We trade and we can say we don’t want to come. We will close the market so that everyone will feel it. They are not feeling it because they are getting what they will eat and someone who is fighting for their right is in the prison for them. And from what we heard the way he’s being treated is bad. If it is prison cell it will be better than keeping him with DSS. The government knows what they are doing for keeping him there and now he is sick according to the news I’m getting this morning and is improper.”