IPOB is set to shutdown the entire South Eastern region of Nigeria following the continuous detention of there leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
The Newera News gathered that there are growing concerns, that the economy of the southeast region may suffer serious decline should the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) make good its threat to lock down the zone beginning from August 9, should the Federal Government fail to release its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu unconditionally.
Experts said that already, the economy of the zone was bleeding, having failed to recover after the forced closure occasioned by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the recent growing insecurity that have paralysed several businesses and activities.
The economic downturn of the region, they added, was compounded by the fact that over 80 percent of activities in the region centered on buying and selling, adding that earnings in the zone had dropped tremendously over unfavourable economic climate.
A Public Analyst, Dr. Freeborn Orjiakor, stated in Enugu last week that the Southeast region was on the verge of depleting its revenues further from incessant disruptions in the economic activities occasioned by insecurity, stressing that the development would be compounded by the threats from the IPOB.
The IPOB had threatened that every Monday from August 9, would be “total lockdown” in the region until the Federal Government releases Kanu.
It’s Spokesperson, Emma Powerful had said: “We declare every Monday sit- at- home throughout Biafra land until our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, regains his freedom. The Federal Government must allow him access to his personal physicians, and allow him to sign documents given to him by the British Government to provide him consular assistance. This peaceful protest will continue ones every week until our demands are met.
“Consequently, all institutions public and private, transport companies, schools, banks, markets, airports and sea ports in Biafra land must shut down every Monday beginning from August 9. People are to remain indoors to register their concern over the fate of our Leader and the rest of all agitators languishing in various security detentions.”
Orjiakor, who spoke further on the implication of the threat to the “shaky” economy of the zone, stated that it would further deplete the realization of the N898 billion budget of year 2021 of the five states, which he added was abysmal compared to the over one trillion naira budgeted by Lagos state alone.
An Economist, Dr. Gergory Onyeije, from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, stated that the threat if carried out would certainly inflict more injuries to the economy of the zone.
Referring to the lockdown in certain places, during the July 28 failed trial of Kanu, where according to him, several millions of naira were lost, he stated that, some businesses affected by the order were yet to recover.
He told The Guardian: “In Imo state, they locked down a market in solidarity and the soldiers who occupied the place refused to reopen the market. When they lock down, it affects revenue and when people don’t make money, the tendency of going into other crimes will be there. These people woke up and start issuing all manner of statements without looking at its overall implication on the zone and its economy.
“Are they saying that should Kanu remain in custody for two years that the lockdown will continue in those years? That will be a great economic loss on the zone. I really do not think it is in our interests for anybody to contemplate doing that.
“I have said on a number of occasions that we are losing focus in the direction of growing development and economy of the region. This is a region that has the least productive capacity; this is a region with high rate unemployment of its youths; this is a region that basically relies on others for survival, among others. The region has suffered enough pressure from the endSARS protests, to COVID-19 and now the insecurity that has threatened most businesses. I don’t think, we will continue to manage this economy the way we are going,” he said.
An Investor, Henry Chibuzo, stated that the Southeast region was fast gaining the toga of hazy realities, stressing that such dimension was dangerous for any business to thrive and uncomfortable for people to live in.
Insisting that the recent call by IPOB was not necessary, Chibuzo added that agitations should be moderate such that would not affect negatively the fortunes of the people meant to benefit from it.
“It is not right at the moment and anybody who loves Igboland should not contemplate it. The economy of the Southeast is already suffering and anything on the negative added to it will create more havoc on families. There will be more loss of jobs; there will be more deaths among other discomforts. I think the authors of that threat should rethink their strategy. It is also a call on the authorities to listen to their demands in the interest of the Southeast region,” he said.
Former National Chairman of the United Progressives Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie, while deploring the move, said it may attract invasion of the geo political zone by security agencies and on the long run, extrajudicial killing of residents.
He said: “I am sad and concerned that somebody issued the threat, on behalf of the leadership of the IPOB, to lock down the Southeast every Monday if the Federal Government failed to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu within a certain time frame.
“It will amount to a transferred aggression and indeed a double tragedy for Ndigbo, if the hapless and long suffering people of the Southeast are subjected to further suffering and danger by their own people. I am aware that many well-meaning leaders from the Southeast are making frantic efforts to convince the Federal Government to consider diplomatic and political engagements to resolve the matter of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his colleagues who are being tried. I am worried that any forceful lock down of the Southeast may attract the invasion of the geopolitical zone by security agencies with avoidable consequences. I appeal to the leadership of the IPOB to reconsider their planned action.”