Enugu Traders Explain Why They Still ‘Sit-At-Home’ On Mondays

Despite the official cancellation of Monday sit-at-home in the entire Southeast states of the federation, most markets in Enugu State opened on Mondays with little or no business activities going on.

THE WHISTLER observed that managements of Ogbete Main Market and Ogige Market in Enugu and Nsukka respectively have complied with the state government’s directive to reopen for businesses on Mondays, but individual traders are unwilling to trade.

A trader, Chizoba Eze, told our correspondent that, “I simply rest and do other personal things on Mondays. Before this development, I realised that most people don’t rest. We trade from Monday to Saturday daily, and then on Sunday, one goes to church, attend meetings, and return to the market on Monday. It is hard work, but gives no room for rest. So, I have chosen to be resting on Mondays for the betterment of my health and well-being.”

Eze’s understanding is not different from the opinion shared by Lazarus, a telephone accessory dealer. According to him, “Our people have realised that life has no duplicate. I use Mondays to do cleaning and rest.

“I don’t see it as sit-at-home any longer. Mondays are being used by me to do necessary needfuls for myself. While Sundays are always preoccupied with meetings, Mondays are free from such, except self-imposed ones. Before now, I had no time to rest.”

Juliana Okoye said she has become a farmer, thanks to sit-at-home on Mondays.

In her words, “I own a big farm, and it all started early last year when I saw the sit-at-home as something I could utilise for the better. I planted vegetables with the aim of selling ugu leaves on Mondays at New Market. Remember that sit-at-home allows selling food items.

“But when I started harvesting the leaves, I realised that I was making gains. I decided to expand the farm. Today, I sell maize, beans and all kinds of leaves. So the sit-at-home hasn’t done anything bad to me. I gained, and I’m still gaining from it. I know it has been cancelled, but I have a right to open my shop or not, after all, I pay my duties to the government.”

A guard seen by the entrance of Ogige Market on Monday said, “We are told when to open and close the market. We do that accordingly. But the traders seem unwilling to open. Again, buyers don’t come. Some traders hang around asking whoever they see what they want to buy. If they have such stock, they take the buyer to their shops to do the trading. But inside the market is often deserted. Some customers say it is even unsafe to enter inside.”

The state government had banned Monday sit-at-home, describing it as counterproductive to Governor Peter Mba’s quest to grow the economy of the state. It also made not opening for businesses an offence.

Mazi Nnamdi Kanu had also banned the exercise during a world press conference organised in Enugu by his special counsel, Barr Aloy Ejimakor. Kanu warned styled prime minister of Biafra, Simon Ekpa, to desist from declaring sit-at-home because it was negatively affecting the economy of the same people he, Kanu, was fighting for their liberation.

Sit-at-home was declared in 2021 when Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, was renditioned from Kenya to Nigeria, and had since been in the custody of the Department of State Services over alleged running a proscribed group, jumping bail and treason.

Despite being discharged and acquitted by Nigeria’s Court of Appeals, the compliance has been a subject of controversies.

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