Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, on Saturday revealed that the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu, told him while in detention that he neither ordered nor knew about the Monday sit-at-home which has continued to be observed in the Southeast.
He said that it was unfortunate that businesses were now relocating to other regions as a result of insecurity in the region.
“What is happening in the Southeast is a tragedy. Every Monday people sit at home in what they call ‘Holy Monday’. What is holy in making people suffer like this?
“IPOB has said countless times that they are not the ones enforcing the order. We don’t know who is enforcing it neither does it seem like we have a way to solve it.
“I went with Ike Ekweremadu and two bishops to the DSS to see Nnamdi Kanu and he told us ‘I have never said people should sit at home’. I told him that nobody believes you outside. Because people have said they don’t like it but they keep sitting at home.
“There is no way we are going to survive like this. You are sitting at home and the people who you are doing these things for are in Lagos and in Abuja and everywhere and they don’t care. And you are here killing your own.
“Aba is known for bringing and opening containers of imported goods on Mondays. So, the problems we’re having today is that because of the sit-at-home, people now go to Port Harcourt, Uyo and Calabar to open their containers. They’re leaving Southeast and moving out to Lagos. When we all leave, who will you blame? The captains of industries are no longer there”, Abaribe said.
He lamented that the insecurity of the Southeast had assumed the biggest problem of the region.
“Insecurity in the Southeast is the biggest problem we are facing now. And the sooner we tackle it the better for us. Even if you are seeking a separate country, why would you destroy your own place with your hands? You need to have a viable country and not a scattered one”, he said.
He called on Ndigbo to concentrate on making the Southeast the economic hub of Nigeria irrespective of the outcome of their 2023 presidential quest.
Abaribe also bemoaned the negative effect of Mondays’ sit-at-home on the economy of the region, saying rather than achieve anything good, the exercise had ended up chasing businessmen away from the region.
Speaking during the investiture of the 16th President of Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture(ECCIMA), Barr. Jasper Nduagwuike on Saturday, the senator urged the businessmen, industrialists and all stakeholders in the Southeast to emulate the people of Bavaria in Germany and Catalonia in Spain for jettisoning everything about ruling the countries but concentrated on making their regions the economic hub of their countries.
He said, “We want to turn the Southeast into the Catalonia of Spain, the biggest industrial area in that country. It doesn’t matter that they are seeking for their own self-sufficiency. They still become the industrial hub of that place so that at the end, even if you are going anywhere, you are going to become a viable country.
“If you destroy your place, where are you going to be when everything is destroyed.
“We want to turn the Southeast into the Bavaria of Nigeria. Bavaria is the industrial hub of Germany today. No Bavarian has been made president of Germany because they are the people that are holding the economy.
“I want to task each and every one of us, especially the chamber of commerce that our job is cut out for us.”
He urged Ndigbo to make Southeast to become more attractive to businesses, adding that giving in to Mondays’sit-at-home could succeed in destroying the economy of the region.
“What we need in the southeast is to turn the zone to a place that attracts people, not the place that people are running away from. We cannot grow as region if we don’t work 24 hours daily to uplift our standard of living.”
In an opening remark, Jasper Nduagwuike who pledged to work for the repositioning of the chamber said that his administration will ensure the construction of a befitting Trade Fair Complex in Enugu.