BARELY three weeks after the Anambra State governor, Willie Obiano re-opened the major markets in the state, there are indications that the government will close the markets again because of non-compliance of COVID-19 hygiene protocols in the markets.
On Monday, the Eke-Awka market, the major market in Awka, the state capital, was closed down for the 14 days.
According to a statement from the state government, the closure was a warning to all the other markets, which the government accused for failure to strictly observe the use of face masks, regular washing of hands with soaps, maintenance of physical distancing.
The statement by the Secretary to State government, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu, stated that the shut down was as a result of non-compliance by traders and customers with COVID-19 protocols.
The statement also announced the imposition of a curfew from 8pm to 6am daily in Awka South Council Area, until further notice.
The Secretary did that the decisions are as a result of increased cases of Covid-19 in the local government.
According to the statement, “the government is also putting other market leaders and local government areas on notice that a similar curfew action will be taken, and markets in the areas closed down, if it is observed that such markets do not observe COVID-19 protocols.”
In Nnewi, the Chairman of Agboedo Edo Motor Spare Parts Association, Nkwo Nnewi, Mr Dennis Ikegwuonu absolved traders in the market of breaching the COVID-19 protocols, which were the conditions given the traders before the market was opened.
Ikegwuonu, who was reacting to the government’s warning, said that traders at the motor parts were trying their best to maintain all the directives of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and state government.
He said: “We appeal to Obiano not to close our market again because the previous lockdown subjected us to untold hardship; we would not like a repeat of that experience.
“We wear our face masks and have strategic points where customers and the entire traders wash their hands with sanitizers and we try as much as we can to maintain social distancing.
“Members of the Taskforce are very strict at the entry points to debar people without facemasks into the market.
“Some people are stiff-necked and try to circumvent the order. We have warned those who hang their facemasks at their jaws instead of on their noses to desist from doing so or we will treat them as not wearing facemasks at all.”