It was relatively a beehive of activities as the governor of Enugu State, Dr Peter Mbah, toured various parts of the state capital on Monday to monitor compliance with the ban on the illegal sit-at-home declared by some non-state actors.
This was even as Enugu traders and residents told the governor that they were tired of sitting at home, describing it as a plague killing their businesses and household economies.
While commending the level of compliance in most places visited, Mbah, who was at the Spar Mall, Roban Stores at Bisalla Road, Market Square, Shoprite, Zenith Bank at Ogui Road, Celebrities, Ogbete Market, Garki Awkunanaw Market, Mayor Market, Abakpa Market, and the State Secretariat, among others, however warned that traders, who continue to sit at home from Monday, 24th July would lose their shops to serious-minded businessmen.
He said adequate security had been provided, observing that there had not been any incident of attack since the ban on sit-at-home in June.
Mbah, who took time to interact with business owners, shoppers, traders as well as civil servants at the state secretariat, said, “it should never be heard that we were cowed because of the threat of violence by these criminals”, noting that “the poverty that will befall us for sitting at home will kill us even faster.”
“We are losing over N10bn every Monday that we sit at home. Enough is enough. This foolishness must end and it must end now. We cannot be marginalising ourselves and still complain of marginalisation.
“So, we must say no to sit-at-home because what it means is that we are destroying our employment, our economy, and our GDP. We must erase it from our memories. We should see it as our shameful past, which we do not want to remember. We must put it behind us and forge ahead, ensuring that we work every working day of the week”, he urged Enugu people.
To the traders at Ogbete, Garki, and other markets, he however warned that locking shops on Mondays would no longer be condoned.
“But you know, there are also consequences for not heeding our orders. Going forward, I want to put you on notice. I will go around the state again on Monday next week. We are going to come with the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority to put a seal on any shop that is found locked on Monday because of the illegal sit-at-home. We will take it that you are not ready to do business.
“We are going to revoke your license to operate. We will revoke your shop title and reallocate it to someone else, who is ready to do business. This is something we must enforce with effect from Monday next week”, he forewarned.
Meanwhile, the market leaders and business owners have assured the governor that they were now ready for full compliance, saying they were already sick and tired of the Monday-sit-at home.
At the meeting with the Ogbete traders, president of Enugu State Amalgamated Traders Association, Comrade Stephen Aniagu, assured the governor that they had already agreed to commence full business, saying all shops would be open from next Monday.
Also, the leader of Abakpa Nike Market, Bernard Anike, also assured the governor that they had since started complying with the ban on sit-at-home.
Meanwhile, a development economist, Richard Emeka Ezeh, lamented the high cost of sit-at-home and commended Dr Mbah’s determined efforts to bring it to an end.
“I’m surprised to see the governor here. I like it that he is going round to sensitise the people on why they should come out.
“Employers of labour were losing so much money to sit-at-home. The economy cannot grow when we are losing N10 billion every Monday. As a development economist, I know that the private sector drives every economy, but the private sector cannot thrive in a place where people sit at home.
“So, let’s continue to convene town hall meetings, engage the youths, engage the artisans, and continue to sensitise the market women,” he said.
On her part, Chioma Nwagu, said the sit-at-home was killing the economy.
“We have to come out to do our business. We can’t feed ourselves while staying at home. We have to come out and do our businesses”, she stated.
In the meantime, public and private schools monitored by journalists in Enugu were open, most of them for the first time on a Monday since the beginning of sit-at-home.
At the Spring of Life International Schools, where full academic activities were on, Mr Dominic Okoro, who came to complete his child’s registration, told reporters that restoring academic activities on Mondays will help the children and expressed happiness at the development.