In Southeast Nigeria, historic grievances are still being nursed till this day. Many in the region would argue that these grievances are justified.
But there is no doubt that these days, and this year especially, those grievances have been sharpened into a garotte on the grinding stone of Nigeria’s complexities as a country and are being deployed to decapitate the people of the Southeast – at least economically.
It has everything to do with the sit-at-home being observed every Monday in the Southeast by terrified residents.
In 2021,Mazi Nnamdi Kanu,the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) was arrested in Kenya and bundled back to Nigeria to continue his trial on charges of terrorism.
Immediately his arrest and incarceration were confirmed,the Southeast descended into chaos as the intensity of attacks on people and property spiked. As if that was not enough,IPOB, in a bid to press home its demands for the release of its leader, immediately devised the sit-at-home which it slapped on the entire region.
Whenever it has been enforced, it has ground activities in the Southeast to a halt with markets,banks,schools and even government offices shutting down as security personnel have looked on helpless while people remain in their homes in desperate fear for their safety.
The toll the sit-at-home observed weekly has taken on life in the Southeast is simply incalculable.
Things have since taken an interesting turn with the IPOB stating a while ago that it was no longer behind the move.
However, because some of those who believed that and tried going about their normal activities met their grisly end, others have been reluctant to believe that the region is safe for normalcy on the days dedicated to the sit-at-home and rightly so.
Now, it appears that the fissures within the IPOB itself are set to plunge the Southeast into more chaos with the Simon Ekpa-led faction of the group recently declaring a sit-at-home for six days.
While governments in the region and the IPOB itself have scrambled to clarify that people could go about their normal activities,deadly attacks have rumbled across the region to press home the deadly seriousness of the group.
What more indignity do the people of a region that was almost submerged in the debris of a senseless civil war suffer at the hands of desperate criminals before the authorities wake up and do what they must?
How many more people need to be killed in the Southeast before the authorities in the region and at the federal level convince themselves that it is decisive action that can halt the madness?
The nauseous sit-at-home and the continuing attacks in the region ask pertinent questions of Nigeria as a country especially of its capacity to contain that which challenges its sovereignty from within the country.
People should be free to live and move around from any part of Nigeria to the other without fearing the worst.
Until the many questions roiling the Southeast are decisively answered, Nigeria will remain a distant dream to many in the region.