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By Hon. Simon Edeh

I was flabbergasted seeing the video of the Secretary to the state government and other agents of the state accompanied by heavily armed security men sealing off people’s shops and business establishments for not opening their shops in compliance with government order.

Whereas it could be justified if the state government is enforcing compliance to its directives or order on those under Enugu state government employment or payroll, it can not justifiably compel compliance of federal government employees and private business owners without infringing on their fundamental human rights.

Chapter 4 of the Nigeria Constitution 1999 as amended spelt out these inalienable rights and allows no derogation except in strict compliance with the constitution. Any order or any other law whatsoever that is contrary or inconsistent with the constitution is void and unenforceable.

In a democracy and capitalist society like ours, it is absolute absurdity and draconic of any leader to give effect to any order that violates the citizens fundamental human rights as it is being witnessed in Enugu State today.

Earlier on, I listened to the Commissioner of Police addressing news men on the readiness of the state command on enforcing compliance to the ban on sit at home. He rightly noted that it is their duty to provide security for the citizens to go about their normal business but not within police powers to force people of out of their homes to be on the street, as doing so will amount to abuse and violation of the people’s fundamental human rights.

While the citizens and residents of the state wish and pray for the cessation of sit at home and the gradual return of normalcy on mondays in Enugu State, confidence building, consultation, persuasion and dialogue is key to achieving sustainable peace.

History has shown that coercion is always counter productive as it often elicits unimaginable resistance especially when government action is an obvious aberration.

It is being alleged in some section of the media that the State government focus and desperation to end sit at home is more personal than to the benefits of the citizens as it was a precondition to accessing 30billion loan from British Government.

While other state governors are making appreciable progress in developmental projects and improvement of the living standard of the citizens, Enugu’s own seems different, only focusing on sit at home while owing workers salary.

Ebonyi and Abia State have constituted State Executive Council long ago and are obviously focusing on infrastructure development and improvement of the living standard of the citizens not closing their shops and businesses in flagrant violation of their rights.

It will not be surprising if the state government is visited with barrage of litigations on the enforcement of the people’s fundamental human rights. Who he fetched maggots infested firewood is only begging to feast with lizards, after all.

Could this be an excuse for not doing anything reasonable for almost 60 days in office despite unprecedented federal allocation?
Ndi Enugu are taking note.

– Hon. Simon Edeh

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