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The Enugu Network of Civil Society Organizations (ENSNet) has keenly watched and followed events regarding the enforcement of the ban on the SIT-AT-HOME order by the Governor of Enugu State which culminated in the loss of lives of people on Wednesday, 26th July 2023 at Ogbete Main Market Enugu and wish to state as follows:

 

  1. In as much as we appreciate the economic implications of the SIT-AT-HOME to residents and people of Southeast nay, Enugu State, the approach of use of force by the Enugu State Government is not the best practice and it runs counter to democratic norms.

 

  1. The action of sealing of the shops of traders who voluntarily decided not to open shops on Mondays is tantamount to ultra-vires as the State Government under a democratic setting has no such powers to seal or close down the shops of the traders because there is no law that empowers the government to do so in a democracy such as ours. For the avoidance of doubt, those shops were genuinely acquired via the local government, and the right to property as provided in chapter four (4) of the 1999 constitution as amended has been conferred on the owners of those shops and no individual or the Government has the power to take it away from them without following the due process of the law of which the sealing off of the shops is certainly not part of. Such action of the Government is to the least can be described as “totalitarian in nature” and amounts to intimidation and suppression of citizenry.

 

  1. That the Government of Enugu State should locate the families of the casualties of the protest and pay them the necessary compensations arising from the loss of lives while those that sustained injuries are to be treated and paid necessary compensations as damages sustained in the course of the protest occasioned by the action of the State.

 

  1. That the content of the statement of the Government linking the development of the protest to the involvement of the invasion of imported miscreants is an indication of security lapses since it beats our imagination to hear such a story when Government said that there is adequate security in every part of Enugu metropolis including around Ogbete Main Market.

 

  1. We call on Amnesty International, National Human Rights Commission, and other relevant Human Right Defenders to intervene in this case and monitor development in Enugu State to avoid the escalation of the use of force and intimidation on the Citizens by the Government in the course of further enforcement of the ban on SIT-AT-HOME order of the State Government as well as to ensure that necessary compensations are paid to the victims of the attack on the protesters and their families.

 

  1. That the Government of Enugu State should rescind its conditions for unsealing those shops and unseal the shops in the interest of justice, peace, integrity, and honour and stop using “force” and “intimidation” to secure compliance with the ban as such approaches constitute aberration to democracy. Democracy requires persuasion and dialogue and not intimidation.

Signed:   Comrade Osmond Ugwu,

President, International Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights Initiative, and Chairman of the Network.

Comrade Ugonna Ozor, Executive Director, RED Foundation and Secretary of the Network.

 

 

 

 

 

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