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May 30: Enugu Governor Mbah Warns IPOB Over Sit-At-Home Order, Says WAEC Exams Can’t Wait In South-East

IPOB, a pro-Biafra group and other pro-Biafra agitators had warned the management of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) in Anambra State against holding its convocation ceremony on May 30.

The Governor Peter Mbah-led Enugu State Government has condemned what he described as an attempt to scuttle the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) in the state on Thursday, May 30, 2024.

SaharaReporters reported on May 28 that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) reiterated that the May 30 sit-at-home exercise across South-East Nigeria would be held as planned.

IPOB, a pro-Biafra group and other pro-Biafra agitators had warned the management of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) in Anambra State against holding its convocation ceremony on May 30.

It said the day had been selected for its Biafra Remembrance Day to honour Nigerians of Southeast extraction killed during the 1967-70 civil war.

The school later bowed to pressure by rescheduling its convocation earlier billed to be held on May 30. The institution subsequently changed the May 30 and 31 dates for its 18th convocation and award of degrees to its graduates and postgraduates

Reacting, the Enugu government in a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information, Mr Aka Eze Aka said the consequences of candidates of the state and the entire South East region not sitting for their General Mathematics papers were massive and held nothing but “gloom for the future, contrary to what their forebears fought for”.

Aka, however, urged candidates and those involved in the conduct of the examination and other enterprises to go about their legitimate businesses, as the state had taken steps to ensure adequate security of lives and property.

The statement partly read: “The Enugu State Government notes with deep concern the statement credited to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) directing the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to postpone the General Mathematics (Theory and Objectives) examinations scheduled for Thursday, May 30, 2024, which the IPOB had designated ‘Biafra Heroes Day.’

“We note with particular concern IPOB’s statement that ‘WAEC board should not endanger the lives of small children because that day is not safe for any individual in Biafra territory.’

“This is unacceptable to us, not only because of the well-known position of the Enugu State Government on illegal sit-at-home orders, which have dealt a great blow on the socio-economic life and fortunes of the South East region, but also because of the far-reaching consequences of a whole generation of Enugu children failing to sit for a fundamental subject such as Mathematics in one year.

“Let no one make a mistake about it, Ndigbo excel on the wings of industry, education and human capital development. Therefore, any pronouncement or action that tends to deny our children their rights to education, which is their ticket to the future, is offensive to our sensibilities and surely the sensibilities of our founding fathers and fallen heroes, who must be turning in their graves, wondering what could have happened to us as a people. Moreso, when many of the architects of such unjust and evil agenda live in the comfort of civilised societies where they go to work and their children go to school every workday.

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“The Enugu State Government recognises the sacrifices of our gallant forebears, who gave their all, including their lives, to defend the Igbo land. But we also recognise that they died that we may not just have life, but to have the best of it, which can only come from developing our human capital to be able to excel in all that we do as individuals and collectively as a people.

“The government will not sit by and watch the future of our children aborted by such ill-conceived pronouncement intended to keep them at home. WAEC, as the name implies, is a regional body organising SSCE, not just in Nigeria, but also across West Africa. The subregion will certainly not wait for us.

“The Enugu State Government, therefore, enjoins candidates sitting for the ongoing SSCE in Enugu State to feel free to go to their respective centres to sit for their papers on Thursday, May 30, 2024, without any fears, while the officials involved in the conduct of the examination should also go about their legitimate duties without apprehension.

“As underscored at the beginning of this administration, no one has the right to impose any illegal and involuntary restriction of movement or business activities on anybody within the territory of Enugu State. Such will be met with the full weight of the law.

“Consequently, the government has put the security agencies on red alert to ensure security of lives and property and also deal, according to the laws of the land, with anyone or group bent on scuttling the SSCE scheduled for May 30, 2024 or causing a breach of peace and security of any type.”

Meanwhile, in a circular entitled “Clarification on Attendance to Duty on Thursday 30th May, 2024” issued on Tuesday, the state’s Head of Service, Mr. Ken Ugwu, warned civil servants and political appointees that failure to report to work would attract severe sanctions.

Ugwu in the circular dated Tuesday, May 28, 2024, maintained that there would be no public holiday on May 30, 2024.

He said: “It has become expedient to clarify that the State Government has not declared Thursday, 30th May, 2024 as a public holiday or sit-at-home day contrary to misconceptions from some quarters.

“May I, therefore, remind our workers that failure to be in their duty posts on the above date will attract summary dismissal from Service in line with the enabling provisions of the Public Service Rules.

“It must be noted that such purported public holiday/sit-at-home will have far-reaching consequences on the academic pursuit of our children, who are taking part in the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations holding simultaneously across the nation, including the South Eastem region.

“Enugu State Govemment strongly frowns at any calculated attempt to mortgage the future of our children and has, therefore, put in place necessary security arrangements to guarantee the safety and unrestricted movement of all citizens and residents within the State.

“All Permanent Secretaries, Directors of Administration, Heads of Departments, and agencies of Government are directed to take a roll call of all those who came to work and return the same to the Office of the Head of Service before 11 am on Thursday, 30th May, 2024.

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