Activists Decry “State Extremism” Following Ban Backed by Christian Leaders in Nigeria

Credit: Intersociety

The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has condemned the criminalization of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Monday ‘sit-at-home’ order in Nigeria’s Enugu State, saying that the move amounts to impunity. 

On June 25, Enugu State Governor, Peter Mbah, closed businesses that defied his June 3 ban of the sit-at-home order.

Following Governor Mbah's ban, Enugu State Police Commissioner deployed personnel and intelligence resources across the Nigerian State to ensure that residents of the state did not adhere to IPOB’s directive.

Members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Enugu State chapter, lauded the Governor’s move, and expressed their support for civil societies that has staged a march, protesting the ‘sit-at-home’ order.

In a Thursday, July 27 statement, researchers at Intersociety said the conduct of the Governor Mbah-led government was “nothing short of false gallantry and state extremism.”


“The Enugu State Government under Gov. Peter Mbah must be told in clear and unequivocal terms that ‘sit-at-home’ is not a criminal offense with prescribed penalties in any written law governed by the 1999 Constitution and Nigeria’s acceded Rights and Humanitarian Treaty Laws,” Intersociety officials said.

They added, “Right to freedom to ‘sit-at-home’ shares the same freedom with ‘Right to Freedom of Worship or Religion, Ethnicity or Tribe’ which is further strengthened by ‘Rights to Freedom of Thought and Conscience” contained in Section 38 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.”

The team of researchers at Intersociety said that using police officers and closing businesses that defy the ban placed on the IPOB sit-at-home order is “nothing short of Executive recklessness and abuse of office.”

Using police officers to enforce Governor’s ban is “clear act of criminalization of security and other safe conditions or decriminalization of insecurity and other unsafe conditions,” they said, adding that the State government’s conducts are “unconstitutional, illegal, extra-legal, extra jus, and impeachable.” 

The team of criminologists, lawyers, and security and peace studies experts appealed to the Governor Mbah-led government to “quickly retrace its steps before it is too late.”

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“The Enugu State Government must as a matter of uttermost urgency and inexcusability unseal and reopen all markets and other businesses it tyrannically shutdown and refrain from such dastardly acts of executive recklessness,” they said, adding that doing business in the State “must not be allowed to be criminalized and made vulnerable to state and non-state dark forces of destruction.” 

“If Gov. Peter Mbah of Enugu State is truly concerned, his Government must critically address the fundamental causes and the triggers of the ‘sit-at-home’ which include the continued detention without trial of Nnamdi Kanu (IPOB leader) and sources of the political supports and weaponization by those behind proclamation and enforcement of the “Monday-Sit-At-Home” including whether they are linked or not linked to Nigeria’s national or sub-national Government (s) or their top functionaries,” they say.

IPOB declared the Monday ‘sit-at-home’ order to push for the release of their leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who has remained in prison despite the court’s order to set him free in August 2021.

The separatist group’s leader, Simon Ekpa, issued an announcement on Tuesday, July 11 directing Biafrans in Nigerians  South East zone to stay at home every Monday from 31 July 31 to August 14.

The self-acclaimed leader who is based in Finland said the disobedience was meant to push for the “immediate and unconditional” release of IPOB leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who has remained in prison despite the court’s order to set him free.


Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.