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Archbishop of Enugu decries lockdown in South East


Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), has said that another lockdown would further increase the poverty in the South-East.

Chukwuma made the observation while speaking to newsmen on Monday on the proposed plan by some pro-Biafra groups to ensure that people of the South-East, Delta, and Rivers States observed lockdown every Monday.

The total lockdown every Monday, which is tagged: “Ghost Monday” by the groups, has been scheduled to continue until the leader of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, was released from custody.

”I personally call on all pro-Biafra groups to have a rethink on the proposed lockdown, since it will further impoverish the people, who are mostly traders, and create more hunger in the land”, Chukwuma said.

He added that presently, businesses throughout the South-East were dull and people “just struggle each day to make a living and have something to put bread on their tables”.

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“The move will be unfair to us, Ndigbo, who are engaged in various businesses. If carried out, it is wrong. Since, when you are locking up your zone or region, other zones will be engaging in their businesses and daily human activities meant for their growth and progress.

“It is a way of destroying the economy of our brothers. We must be very careful in the way we are going about it.

“I also do not totally support it as many of our traders are in trouble already, due to the COVID-19 lockdown and what they lost.

“So, locking down the entire place every Monday from 6 am to 6 pm; should be reviewed. They should do a proper introspect and rethink about it,’’ he said.

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The archbishop stated that the people should think of how to help those whose businesses were going down rather than inflict more hardship on the generality of the people.

“We should find a better way of improving the economy and checking lack and hunger in the land,’’ he said.

Chukwuma called on Ndigbo and pro-Biafra groups to pray more than locking down the entire zone each Monday.

“Our people should be considerate to all, especially the downtrodden that must go out of their homes before they feed for the day,’’ he added.

In a related development, Chukwuma has distanced himself from the repatriation of the leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, to Nigeria, explaining that he had strongly maintained a stoic and dignified position on justice and fair play in governance at all levels, for the Igbo nation.

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“I was stunned by a recent report credited to the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) published by an online media on July  26.

“In the said report, it was alleged that I was part of the conspiracy that led to the abduction and repatriation of the leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, to Nigeria.

“Ordinarily, I would have ignored the said report for lacking in substance, but that would have elicited different narratives and unhealthy speculations in the mind of Nigerians. A comment, therefore, is considered necessary for posterity.

“In my privileged position as a religious leader, I have vehemently maintained a stoic and dignified position on justice and fair play in governance at all levels, and adherence to due process and constitutionality, while seeking justice for the oppressed.”