“Sit-at-home” Order in Nigerian Region “reflection of leadership failure”: Archbishop

Archbishop Anthony Obinna. Credit: Nigeria Catholic Network

The “sit-at-home” order that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) declared every Monday until their leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, is set free demonstrates the West African nation’s “leadership failure”, an Archbishop in the country has said. 

In an interview with the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) on the sideline of the second 2023 Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Archbishop Anthony Obinna weighed in on the separatist group order in Nigeria’s Southeastern region that is advocating for the release of Mr. Kanu, who has remained in prison despite an August 2021 court order to have him set free.

“The sit-at-home order is a reflection of leadership failure in Nigeria.” Archbishop Obinna is quoted as saying in the report that the Nigeria Catholic Network (NCN) published on Wednesday, September 13.

The Nigerian Archbishop emeritus, who was at the helm of Nigeria’s Owerri Archdiocese from September 1993 when he was ordained Bishop till his retirement in March 2022 recalled the confrontations Catholic Bishops in Nigeria had with the country’s military government (1966-1999, with an interregnum from 1979-1983) when they pushed for civilian rule, adding that he found it regrettable that the civilian rule has not met Nigerians’ expectations. 

“Unfortunately, the hope we had about the civilian government has not quite matured. We are still hoping for a brighter tomorrow because Nigeria is still in a state of nastiness,” the 77-year-old Archbishop lamented.


In a Tuesday, September 12 report, the Chief of Army Staff is quoted having declared an end to the “sit-at-home” order, and adding, “We have equally heightened our efforts in containing criminalities perpetrated in the South East Region by the IPOB and Eastern Security Network.”

“Through Operation our troops have, in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders, put an end to the infamous sit-at-home order that has almost crippled socio-economic activities in the Region,” Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja is quoted as saying.

Lieutenant General Lagbaja has added, “Law-abiding citizens of the Region now go about their businesses and everyday life. Similarly, our joint efforts with various government agencies have quelled attempts by criminals to disrupt economic activities in the South West Region.”

In the interview with CSN on the sidelines of the second 2023 Plenary Assembly of CBCN that was graced by the outgoing Apostolic Nuncio in Nigeria, Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi, Archbishop Obinna faulted Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for not fostering national healing and cohesion.

“If INEC were transparent in its processes, and conducted free, fair, and transparent elections as promised, it would have ushered in a new sense of national healing and cohesion; but since the process had failed, we lost the vibe, which is one of our major concerns in this conference, because the nation is still divided,” the Nigerian Catholic Archbishop lamented. 

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He further said that the failures of the electoral body have divided Africa’s most populous nation into two classes, that of the poor, and that of the very rich.

According to Archbishop Obinna, it is because of these two classes that “even the youths no longer believe in hard work because they have seen politicians capture power with threats, intimidation, and brutality and they are ready to follow suit.”