The 2022 Valentine celebration in Enugu State has been marred by sit-at-home order by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as gardens and parks remained almost empty.
Though members of the proscribed group have maintained that it had since suspended the sit-at-home order to enforce the release of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, but some elements in the group have seized the situation to terrorize residents of the state, forcing them to obey the order.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent who monitored the development on Monday in Enugu reports that few individuals were seen at some gardens, beer parlors and parks in the state capital.
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The owner of Barman Garden at Ologo in Enugu North Local Government Area, Mr Ifeanyi Agbo, said the turn out of the customers was so low compared to the previous years due to the order.
According to him, many people were at home doing their Valentine for fear of being harassed or attacked.
This, he said, affected his sales as well as the business for the day.
Recounting losses, Agbo said he spent a lot to ensure he entertained his numerous customers on Valentine day but low patronage affected his business. Another Garden Operator, Mrs Amaka Nnamani, shared the same experience, saying only a few customers were seen drinking in her shop.
She said, “apart from the sit-at-home order, there was no money as COVID-19 has affected everyone. Though, the turn out was not impressive, I was not expecting many customers this Valentine because of economic hardship in the country,” she said.
At Enugu Unity Park, few people were seen around the park unlike previous celebrations.Some of the residents who spoke to NAN, said they could not go out from their homes for fear of being attacked or killed.
Ikenna Offor, a resident, said it was unfortunate that this year’s Valentine fell on sit-at-home day, adding that he could not go out but celebrated the day with friends within his street.
“I and my babe planned to visit Mr Biggs at Agbani Road but we could not go because of what is happening in the southeast and no one wants to be killed,” Offor said.
Offor appealed to the Federal government to dialogue with the IPOB members and release its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, with a view to resolving the weekly sit-at-home directive, as it affects businesses.
Another resident, Paul Afam, stated that all her plans for the Valentine were shattered by the sit-at-home order, saying that he would celebrate his Valentine the next day.
He added that the absence of vehicular movements would affect many who would want go out and celebrate.
“Buses are not moving, so how can people be transported to where they want to visit,” he asked.
He, however, appealed to those enforcing the order to rescind it as their action is destroying the South-East. (NAN)