By Chuks Ozoani

As we say in Nigerian parlance: “Monkey sabi jump na because say tree near tree.” Indeed if you cut down the trees or drag a monkey to the desert, he automatically loses his jumping skills. So it is with the terrorists called Enugu’s unknown gunmen.

Before the coming of Dr. Peter Mbah as Governor of Enugu State, the unknown gunmen had a field day, killing for fun or enforcing illegal sit-at-home orders by a Finland-based hustler. Those operating from the Nkanu axis would take off from the forests of Ekpofu, Nkanu East LGA, drive past Akpugo, Agbani, Umueze, Amodu, Obeagu, to waste lives and cause havoc at Garki or Amechi Awkunanaw and drive back to the forests, unchallenged.

So, it is understandable that they started running their mouths when the new administration banned the sickening Monday sit-at-home. But little did they know that Mbah came determined and prepared to clean up such undesirable elements from the length and breadth of the state.

But, let’s pause and reflect a little. The whole horror of the sit-at-home and its damning consequences on us as a people justifies Chinua Achebe, who writes that “no matter how many spirits plotted a man’s death, it would come to nothing unless his personal god took a hand in the deliberation.” It also reminds us about the common saying that Nigeria committed grave atrocities against the Igbo during the civil war, but that what fellow Ndigbo did to their own brothers in the course of the war was even worse.

Ndigbo surprised the rest of Nigeria by the speed at which they shrugged off the desolation and destruction of the civil war to rebuild and bounce back mightily from the ashes of palpable hunger and kwashiorkor, wrecked markets, schools and hospitals, bombed bridges, disrupted education, political exclusion, infamous abandoned property, and deliberate economically strangulating policies (such as the confiscation of all Igbo bank deposits through the £20 policy), etc.

In sports, for instance, Rangers International, which name itself derived from our civil war experience, positively channelled the indignation that Ndigbo felt after the war, sewing into each match and each shot the collective holy anger of Ndigbo to conquer Nigeria and Africa on the pitch  to restore the pride of the defunct Biafrans.

In politics, Chief Alex Ekwueme became a Vice President less than 10 years after the war. That was a feat for any people that lost a fratricidal war. And he was on his way to succeeding Alhaji Shehu Shagari before the then Major General Muhammadu Buhari and his boys struck to nip the possibility of an Ekwueme presidency in the bud. Shagari and Ekwueme said so. Thirty-two years later and as civilian president, Buhari’s policy towards Ndigbo was scorched earth. His nepotism and hate towards us as president was so deep and palpable. He openly excluded Ndigbo.

Instructively, the destructions of the civil war, anti-Igbo policies of post war Nigeria, the intermittent destruction of Igbo wealth in the name of “religious” riots could not break Ndigbo.  Not even Buhari’s scorched earth policy could break the Igbo spirit. It was not until 2021 when the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) made the gravest mistake of declaring a compulsory Monday sit-at-home across the South East to protest the extraordinary rendition from Kenya and provocative continued detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu that Buhari and Nigeria found the key to undoing Ndigbo.

Unlike the Shiites who made Abuja hot for Buhari, defying the odds, taking bullets and suffering fatalities they matched on the streets of Abuja and the Three Arms Zone to press for Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky’s release, IPOB believed that locking down the South East was the best way to hurt and force Buhari and Nigeria to free Kanu. Thus, the order was implemented with draconian impetus. Death squads killed and sometimes burnt fellow Ndigbo alive. Igbo wealth and property have been destroyed. Our haters couldn’t believe their luck. So, all they needed to do was to continue to hold Nnamdi Kanu in the gulag so we could help them achieve the total annihilation of Ndigbo, which had deluded them since 1966.

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The Igbo economy has been literally crippled, many businesses have relocated out of our land. Likewise, our children’s education, future, and psyche are being completely destroyed. According to the International Centre for Investigative Report (ICIR), Monday sit-at-home has cost the South East region a whopping $12.215 billion (or N5.375 trillion) since it was declared in September 2021. An SBM Intelligence study for DevEast Foundation equally puts the losses to the mindless sit-at-home at about 30 per cent of the region’s GDP.  And these losses are gains to other regions! We have, in fact, been drinking hemlock (poison), hoping that our enemies will die.

Although IPOB had since called off the ill-advised sit-at-home order when its dangers became manifest, we had already foolishly let the snake in. The haters of Ndigbo only needed to recruit and fund our bad sons to become a perpetual thorn in our flesh by a continued brutal enforcement of the Monday sit-at-home. Today, a Finland-based hustler, Simon Ekpa, has since become the Judas in the hands of Igbo enemies.

Unfortunately, Enugu State is the worst hit, being the only state with 100 percent compliance with the lunatic Monday sit-at-home until the coming of Dr. Peter Mbah. Whereas Simon Ekpa’s Abakaliki, Nnamdi Kanu’s Umuahia, Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu’s Awka, and Michael Okpara and Ralph Uwazuruike’s Imo State went about their businesses on Mondays, Enugu was always on complete lockdown every Monday.

Studies show that economic losses every Monday stand at N10 billion. What of the unquantifiable grave damage to the psyche of our children, who go to school just four days in a week only to write the same WAEC, JAMB and other examinations as children in other states, who go to school five days a week? Interestingly, none of our sons owns or controls any of the pro-Biafra franchises.

It is therefore heart-warming that Mbah has roared. He has shown an iron political will and the lion expected of the occupant of the Lion Building in this do-or-die war against these enemies of progress and sheer bandits, who hide behind Nnamdi Kanu and Biafra agitation to unleash terror on our people and economy.

To show that the bandits have been dealt heavy blows,  they have resorted to scaremongering. Unlike a few months ago when they would kill or burn automobiles, etc., set them ablaze, and begin to share the videos and pictures of their dastardly acts, they now resort to old or fake videos and pictures, which they try to deceitfully present to unsuspecting public as fresh incidents. They even shared video of a burning building one night, which they claimed to be Mbah’s Pinnacle filling station. But I bought fuel at exactly the same filling station located in New Haven area. This week, they pranked and panicked people. It shows how degraded they are.

I commend Governor Mbah and the security agencies. It is to their credit that no single incident has been recorded since the ban on Monday sit-at-home.

Ndi Enugu should continue to refuse to be intimidated by felons, especially the Finland-based Simon Ekpa, who not only go to factory to work his ass up, but equally send his children to school on Mondays, but want to destroy the business of our people and the future of our children. We must collectively rise to defend Enugu and emancipate ourselves from mental slavery. Kudos, Governor Mbah!

•Ozoani writes from Enugu

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