In an effort to ensure total implementation of the sit-at-home ban in Enugu State, Governor Peter Mbah, on Monday, toured various parts of the state capital to monitor compliance.
The governor, 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, commended residents for complying with the sit-at-home ban.
However, some business places in the city were still shut on Monday despite government’s threat to permanently shut businesses that refuse to open in the name of observing sit-at-home.
Sit-at-home is the brainchild of the Indigenous People of Biafra to demand the release of its detained leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
At the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, ESUT-Parklane, there was a rowdy scene as workers scrambled to sign attendance register at the office of the Chief Medical Director, Prof. Hypcinth Onah, to avoid being sanctioned by government.
Our correspondent gathered that the workers were told by the management of the hospital that any staff who failed to attend work on Mondays henceforth or any other day, in the name of sit-at-home, would lose 25 per cent of their salary.
Our correspondent gathered that the development was introduced after a meeting of various heads of government agencies and parastatals with the governor as a measure to compel workers to come to work and break the yoke of Monday’s sit-at-home in the state.
The governor had in June declared that sit-at-home was banned in the state, saying it was injurious to the economic well-being of the state.
As part of measures to enforce the ban, the governor, it was learnt, directed that all civil servants must sign attendance register on Mondays.
At the state teaching hospital, it was learnt that workers must sign in latest 8.30am and sign out from 4pm.
“Anyone who comes to work after 8:30am, when the register is billed to close, will be regarded as absent from work. And those who don’t come to work on Monday will, henceforth, lose 25 per cent of their salary,” a worker at the hospital told our correspondent.
It was gathered that to escape sanction and possible attacks by pro-Biafran sit-at-home enforcers, some workers sleep in the hospital on Sunday night, so they will sign the attendance register on Monday morning before the 8.30am deadline.
“I had to come to the hospital yesterday (Sunday) and slept over to meet the new order because I cannot meet up coming to work by 8am on Mondays.
“I live at Garrik on Agbani Road, and the government doesn’t provide vehicles on Monday for workers to come to work. Also, individual transport owners don’t bring out their vehicles very early in the morning for fear of being attacked,” another worker, who didn’t want their name mentioned, told our correspondent.
Meanwhile, schools, especially government-owned secondary schools, opened but did not record full students’ attendance.
The governor, during Monday’s tour, reiterated the threat that businesses that continued to shut their doors on Mondays risked being permanently shut.
Mbah said the government had provided adequate security, saying there had been no 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,” the governor said.