Governor Peter Mbah has threatened to shut down schools and markets observing the one-week sit-at-home order by the self-acclaimed factional leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Simon Ekpa.
On Tuesday, Chidiebere Onyia, the Enugu secretary to the state government, stated that the government had been alarmed by Mr Ekpa’s letter to all Igbos on June 14, declaring a total lockdown from July 3 to 10 excluding July 6.
He, therefore, warned that any school that fails to open and function normally on Tuesday will have its licence revoked immediately. Mr Onyia added that the government also extended the same warning to market unions and shop owners.
“The attention of the Enugu state government has been drawn to reports on social media this Tuesday morning that proprietors of private schools in the state are sending messages to their pupils and students to stay at home,” stated Mr Onyia. “All markets and shops in the various markets must be open to customers from today or be shut down indefinitely.”
Mr Onyia reiterated the Enugu government’s decision to ban all forms of illegal sit-at-home in all parts of the state, branding it as evil and antithetical to all values they hold dear as a people, such as the Igbo spirit of industry, hard work, creativity and productivity.
He urged the public to go about daily activities as adequate security measures have been implemented to protect lives and property.
“Government will no longer sit by and watch faceless groups and misguided individuals issue illegal orders, dictating to us how to lead our lives, when to go to work or market and when our children go to school,” Mr Onyia stressed. “This is no longer acceptable and must be confronted and defeated with every power and resources at our disposal.”
He further stated that the state government has also warned that it would deploy the full instrumentality of the law, such as the Cybercrime Act 2015, to go after and prosecute individuals, groups and organisations intentionally encouraging the illegal sit-at-home order.
He said this included those instilling fear in residents, raising false alarms to disturb public peace and others through fake news sharing and propagation of falsehood connected with the illegal sit-at-home order on social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter.
“This, however, is by no means depriving citizens freedom of speech and information as enshrined in the constitution,” Mr Onyia explained.