Saturday, September 23, 2023


Chidi Odinkalu: I’ve lost many family members to sit-at home menace

Chidi Odinkalu: I’ve lost many family members to sit-at home menace
September 19
19:09 2023

Chidi Odinkalu, former chairman of the national human rights commission (NHRC), says he has lost many family members in the hands of sit-at-home enforcers in the south-east.

Odinkalu spoke during an interview with Rudolf Okonkwo, host of 90Minutes Africa.

Simon Ekpa, a self-acclaimed disciple of Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has continued to declare sit-at-home in the region despite being suspended by his principal.

Kanu, in a letter in July, asked Ekpa to desist from calling for further sit-at-home. But Ekpa has tagged the letter as “fake”.


Odinkalu said sit-at-home should be voluntary, adding that the situation where people are shot, killed, and desecrated for disobeying Ekpa’s directive is unacceptable.

The frontline activist said people have the right to withdraw their allegiance from any authority as a form of protest.

“I have lost multiple family members,” he said.


“When you go about shooting people because they are trying to go and survive, that is no longer sit-at-home.”

Odinkalu said Ekpa is exploiting the south-east because the government has failed the people.

“If the government were relevant to the people, you would not be having an idiot like Simon Ekpa, sitting in Finland with a wife who is white, telling Nigerians what to do,” Odinkalu said.

“It is because the politicians in the region have failed the people; that’s why people like Simon Ekpa are able to do what they are doing.”


Odinkalu said the menace caused by the activities of IPOB only constitutes a fraction of the violence ravaging the south-east.

He noted that organised crime in the region is at a proportion that many people are yet to understand.

He said the crime networks are involved in “drugs, arms, and trafficking of different things”.

“So we have transnational drug gangs involved in the situation in the southeast that are bringing in arms into the region,” he said.


“Some of the arms also come from other parts of Nigeria using the network of the lower River Niger, both the main course of the river and its tributaries.”

Odinkalu alleged that those who are supposed to stop the illicit activities have become key players in the crime world.



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