The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Benjamin Kalu, says about N4 trillion has been lost to the stay-at-home problem in the south east region within the last 2 years.
Delivering a keynote address at the “All Markets Conference 2023” with the theme: “Catalysing Partnership with Traders through Innovation, Technology, Analytics & Sustainability” in Lagos, the deputy speaker said the situation had forced potential investors out of the south east.
Mr Kalu also stated that the situation observed every Monday in the region with the 5 States of Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Ebony and Imo has crippled businesses and also stifled opportunities for economic growth.
Kalu who noted that violence was alien to the region therefore called for a collective efforts by all Igbo sons and daughters to end the menace.
He said, “The existential threat to Igbo entrepreneurship and businesses now is the insecurity and sit-at-home problem in the south-east. The mutation of this problem is largely unfathomable. It is becoming a cankerworm that is eating deep into our collective fortune as a people. We have to rise up to nip the problem in the bud. The first wave of the migration of Igbo businesses post-civil war was in the late 1980s and the 1990s, when, due to incessant kidnappings, thievery and a rise in occultism, Igbo businesses domiciled in Igbo land moved en masse to other parts of Nigeria and the west & central African region to thrive.
“We are currently witnessing the second wave of such migration of
Igbos businesses, this time around, due to the insecurity and the sit-at-home problem in our beloved region.
“We cannot afford to retreat from our business endeavors. The stay-at-home
order on Mondays has resulted in staggering losses of 4 trillion Naira in the last two years in the Southeast alone according to statistical data. This is also affecting the businesses of our
brothers across Nigeria especially in the supply-chain. We must find lasting
solutions to the security challenges in Igboland, addressing them collectively with innovative strategies. My brothers and my sisters. We must think and think again!”
Emphasizing that the constitution of Nigeria guarantees freedom of movement, Kalu however urged Igbo people resident outside their region to live in peace with their host communities.
Kalu also called for the revival of Igbo apprenticeship system, a time tested practice which he said had produced successful business men and women, stressing that it should not be allowed to go into extinction.