Sit-at-home: “We won’t watch hoodlums destroy lives of our children – Ikpeazu.

Abia State – Nigeria

The Governor, therefore, urged parents, guardians and teachers to take their children to examination centres and ensure their protection while the examinations continue.

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Abia State governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has frowned at the lingering sit-at-home being enforced by people he calls hoodlums in the state and around the South-East region, saying his government cannot watch while future of Abia children who are scheduled to commence WAEC examination today, Monday 13th September and Tuesday, 14th September is being jeopardised by the purported forceful sit-at-home.

The Governor while decrying that the economy of the people is being impacted as well noted that people should be allowed to go about their normal businesses while those who may wish to sit at home are at liberty to do so without anyone being harassed or intimidated.

In a statement titled,“WASCE: We Must not Jeopardise our Children’s Future” by the Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu made available to ABN TV on Monday, the governor insisted that whatever grievances any group of agitators are having can be resolved politically, calling for an end to forceful sit-at-home in the state.
“Our attention has been drawn to the lingering sit-at-home reportedly endorsed and illegally enforced by a group of hoodlums hiding under the identity of agitators in the southeast region to cause chaos in the State and we wish to state categorically that it is unacceptable to allow any individual or group to instil fear in our people to the extent of negatively impacting the education of our innocent school children who are billed to write the compulsory English examination of the West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) on Monday, 13th September and Tuesday, 14th September, and on the rights of other law-abiding citizens.

“While we do not begrudge any citizen the right to sit at home or go about their normal duties, as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others, we cannot afford to sit idly and watch the future of our children jeopardized and the economic well-being of our people further wrecked over a matter we believe can be resolved judicially or through political negotiations.

“We cannot continue to cut our nose to spite our face!”the statement read in part.

The Governor, therefore, urged parents, guardians and teachers to take their children to examination centres and ensure their protection while the examinations continue.

“In the light of the above, government wishes to advice parents to ensure that their children go to the examination centres for their papers while teachers and examination supervisors are to ensure the protection of the children before, during and after the examinations.

“Other citizens are also encouraged to go about their normal duties without fear of molestation as necessary measures have been put in place to protect them.

“Our people are also hereby advised to promptly report any individual or group that attempts to harass, molest, intimidate or stop law-abiding citizens, especially our school children, from exercising their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of movement to the police through the following numbers: 08035415405,

08079210003, 0807921000 and 08079210005.

“The leaders of all market and transport unions in the state are hereby advised to ensure that markets are open and transport vehicles deployed by their members for regular activities on Monday and beyond unless otherwise advised by Government. Any market that is closed or transport union that fails to operate will be closed and disbanded, respectively, by the government till further notice.

“We hereby implore leaders at all levels, members of the clergy, and, indeed, all parents, to support and pray for the resounding success of our school children who have maintained the first position in WASCE, back to back, for four years as they go to their various centres to write their exams.

“As a responsible government, we will continue to explore all avenues to ensure peaceful resolution of the issues that have led to the agitations by the concerned non-state actors but we will not shirk our responsibility to the majority of our people who are also suffering silently out of no fault of theirs.

“All security agencies in the state are hereby directed to fully deploy at all flashpoints on Monday and going forward as well as maintain regular patrols to ensure the safety and protection of law-abiding citizens and visitors from any form of molestation.

“For the avoidance of doubt, let it be stated once again that we are committed to protecting all citizens and residents of the state including ensuring respect for their fundamental rights. We also recognize the fact that some may wish to voluntarily sit at home for any number of reasons, but those wishing to go out must also be able to do so without fear of molestation by anyone.

“Our people are wise and historically known to exercise wisdom in handling issues no matter the provocation. It is unthinkable that any Igbo man will want to cut his nose to spite his face especially in these circumstances that may adversely affect the future of our innocent children and we must all rise collectively to do the needful: protect our children’s education and ensure that those who may wish us evil as a people do not succeed in provoking us to destroy our means of livelihood at a time we are yet to recover from the economic challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 and EndSARS protests that necessitated the prolonged shut down of businesses only recently.

“Chenu uche, Ndigbo!” the statement added.


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