By Chimaobi Nwaiwu, NNEWI
An adage in Igbo land says ‘When birds begin fly without perching, the hunter will learn to shoot without aiming.
That seems to be the situation with Igbo traders, businessmen, importers, artisans and residents, particularly in Onitsha the commercial city and Nnewi, the industrial town of Anambra State. They have applied that wisdom to beat losses they would have incurred following all the forces that have made continued observance of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB’s suspended Monday weekly sit-at-home in the South-East a norm.
IPOB has, several times, issued statements reiterating its suspension of the weekly sit-at-home to protest their leader’s protracted case with the Federal Government.
IPOB declared the first Monday sit-at-home on August 9. However, following the appeals by notable Igbo leaders and Ohaneze Ndigbo calling for it cancellation or suspension due to its negative effect on the economy of South-East, IPOB suspended it, thereby cancelling the second one that was to come on Monday August 16.
- BREAKING: IPOB suspends sit-at-home order
- IPOB declares war on hoodlums enforcing sit-at-home on Mondays
- Ohanaeze, INC outraged as IPoB bans Nigerian flag in S/East
However, surprisingly to IPOB the people of South-East still observe the suspended August 16 sit-at-home and subsequent ones of August 23 and 30. They did not stop as they also observed Monday September 6, 13, 20 and 27, which seem to have given the impression that the people are tired and ready to go back to their respective businesses.
While commercial and businesses activities are gradually returning in states like Abia, Imo, Enugu and Ebonyi states, Anambra State which is the busiest commercial state in South-East is still foot dragging in returning to commercial and business activities.
Markets and banks, including government establishment have remained under lock and key from Monday, August 9 till 27, and there is no sign that the situation will change from the body language of the traders and residents of Onitsha and Nnewi, the two major business towns in Anambra State.
However, traders, civil servants, residents of Onitsha and Nnewi, have since devised a means to recoup what they seem to have been losing all these Mondays of sit-at-home in South-East, particularly in Anambra State.
Investigations by Vanguard today (Monday, September 27) and comments of some traders/businessmen and residents of Onitsha and Nnewi revealed that they are not feeling the impacts of the Monday weekly sit-at-home — they simply turned Sunday to a business day in place of Monday.
Some of the traders, businessmen and residents who spoke with Vanguard on condition of anonymity said that why the traders, financial services outfits, particularly banks, have been reluctant to go back to business is that they are enjoying the Monday weekly sit-at-home because they feel they have nothing to lose if they did not go to work, market or their respective businesses.
No more church on Sunday
The traders and businessmen, particularly importers, said they have abandoned Sunday Church service and rescheduled their goods to come in into Onitsha and Nnewi on Saturdays and Sundays. They offload and sell to interested customers.
Turning Sunday to business transaction day and Monday a resting day, according to some traders in Onitsha and Nnewi, has reduced attendance at Sunday service
Other traders told Vanguard that some of the activities they do on Saturdays and Sundays like washing of cloths and their cars, attending family, village, town union and association and club meetings are now done on Saturdays and Sundays after trading and commercial activities, while they now use Mondays to rest, instead of Sundays they normally rest.
Others said that they now use Saturday and Sunday to conduct all necessary business transactions, including way bills to their customers in and outside the state, while money are sent to them through bank transfers, adding that some of their customers even send money for goods in advance.
Civil servants happy; banks open Tuesday to Sunday
However, civil and servant public servants who spoke with Vanguard sounded like people who enjoy the weekly Monday sit-at-home because it has reduced number of the days they go and the money spent on transport and also afford time to have more rest after work on Fridays.
Another traders said that some of the markets in Onitsha and Nnewi are fully operated from Tuesday and Sundays with an upward extension of the usual closure time of markets from 5pm to 6.30p.m. in some markets to enable traders complete commercial activities and other business transactions.
Vanguard also gathered that most bank workers, who have been complaining that Saturdays and Sundays are not enough to attend to personal matters and clean up in their houses, are pleased with the Monday weekly sit-at-home, and wish it continues.