Ike Ekweremadu the deputy senate president has advised that the sit-at-home order declared by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) for May 30 should be optional.
Ekweremadu said this while speaking on Sunday, May 28 at an inter-denominational church service at the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Abakaliki, to commemorate 2017 Democracy Day and Governor David Umahi’s second year in office.
He said that while the agitation and concerns of the groups are genuine, they should not be pursued with force or other forms of armed struggle.
“Individuals who operate private businesses and want to stay-at-home on that day should stay, while those who want to operate their businesses should be allowed to do so.
“I believe that civil and public workers should be ready to go to work on that day as I appeal that no group should force people to stay at home against their wishes,” he added.
Mr Ekweremadu also called for the groups to embrace dialogue and constructive engagement in pursuing their agitation and avoid armed struggle.
Citing examples, he said: “The struggles and concerns are genuine but with the collaboration of all and constructive engagement, we will surely get to our destination no matter how long it takes.
“Black Americans agitated for a long time before Barack Obama became president in 2008, likewise in India, it took constructive engagement for the people to actualise their agitation.
“South Africa despite racial disturbances and black oppression, employed constructive engagement and intervention of the western world and African interests such as Nigeria’s, to dismantle apartheid.”
According to NAN, in his remark, Mr Umahi reiterated that no individual or group would force the citizens of the state to stay-at-home on May 30.
“I have met the leadership of these groups on various occasions and discovered that most of their agitations are correct but the ways they seek to actualise them can be faulted.
“I have also met the leadership of market unions in the state and we resolved that markets would be open on that day and no trader or any other individual will be molested.
“The deputy senate president is fighting marginalisation of the Igbos at the federal level; when this is addressed, we will start our own agitation of marginalisation as a state.
“Ebonyi does not believe in regional government because we will continue suffering deprivation but believe in the restructuring of the country to address all imbalances,” he said.