Tuesday sit-at-home: Nigeria suffers N6.2bn of business transactions on Biafran agitation
The sit-at-home directive observed on Tuesday by the pro-Biafara agitators to mark 50 years of civil war Nigeria recorded a huge success as major towns in the South East and parts of South South regions had banks and other offices shut, with the business community bearing an estimated cost of N6.2 billion on unexecuted transactions as banks and other revenue offices were shut.
Both the organisers of the one-day order and the security agencies said there was no skirmishes through out the action, apart from the fact that most streets and shops were deserted.
Some busibess men and business analysts have based on the calculation of the cost of the strike on the data stating that that Nigeria suffers a loss of about N46 billion on each national holiday observed on the weekday in the country.
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They said with South East and South South being the budiness hub, any qctivity that calkes for total closing down of all sectors of the economy, from the regions can be huge cost on the national economy.
For instance, an Onitsha-based importer, Mr. Peter Duruaku, said the Democracy Day holiday on Monday, which preceded the Tuesday sit-at-home order added more costs to the business community in the regions involved.
“I was exprcting delivery of my goods on Monday, May 29 but thevhopiday made ii impossible, that was also affected by the Tuesday order, and in those days , I have to cough out N250,000 dumerage and related charges,” he said.
Also, the action led to banks and oil companies remaining close throught out the day for fear of possible violence that might accompany compliance or otherwise of the sit-at-home directive by the groups behind it.
But an ex banker, Mr Johnson Durojaye, quoting some statistics , said with the Nigerian business world suffering billions of naira from each holiday observed in the country, even when the informal sector is often alive at most holidays, having a total shut down of both the formal and informal sectors shut, as was done on Tuesdsy is bound to cost the economy more than can be easily estimated.
“In that regard, the volume of business transactions lost to the sit-at-home called in the the aftected region, which is known for its business activities can only be an issue to debated on, but when National Office of Statistics will come out with the figure on that many will be shocked,” he said.
According to Durojaye, part of the ways towards seeing Nigeria have robust economy is to strife to reduce the number of holidays and any occasion like the pro-Biafran group’s order that can make shutting down of all business houses possible.
But to the leadets of the groups, there is no sacrifice that is too much to pay for an oppressed people to be free.
The chief coordinator of the action commiittee on the programme, made up of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Mr. Uchenna Madu, said those reeling out statistics on the losses caused by the sction did not get the feelings of the people that the struggle was aimed at bettering their lives.
“Those giving out statistics on the costs of the programme are not the ones that the success of our demands will favour, hence their subtle move to paint a picture of business transactions’ suffering huge losses to cause division. But so long as the message has been delivered to those , who should hear it we are satisfied ,” the coordinator stated.
He confirmed that apart from few banks and government offices that opened briefly for business in states outside the South East, all other institutions including schools and all markets and shops were closed.
Although there was no formal closing of tertiary institutions, no academic work held in most of them, including the University of Nigeria, Enugu campus; Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT); and the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT).