… Market pledges to comply with COVID-19 protocols
Leaders of Eke Awka Market in Anambra State have appealed to Governor Willie Obiano to consider re-opening the market which was closed on the orders of the state government for non-compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
In a press statement released yesterday in Awka, the market association chairman, Jude Agumadu said the problem of non-compliance with COVID-19 protocols was a flaw on the part of traders and people who patronise the market who took the pandemic for granted.
He said that efforts of the market authority in enforcing the protocols were not enough and assured that stringent measures are now in place to ensure strict compliance to COVD-19 protocols and World Health Organisation’s guidelines on containment measures for the spread of the virus.
Agumadu said that the market management was doing everything possible to ensure 100 per cent compliance and has re-positioned the COVID-19 Taskforce to pick out all erring traders and their customers for appropriate sanctions in the event of flouting the directives.
He added that arrangements have been made to provide water and soaps as well as hand sanitisers at every gate for people to use before they can enter the market.
The market leader further disclosed that all the market lines and women leaders have been directed to ensure adequate measures were put in place in their various lines to forestall repeat of what led to the market closure.
He therefore appealed to the governor to reconsider his positions and order the reopening of the market because of the suffering of the traders who recently came out from the nationwide lock down for business.
Meanwhile, National Light’s call at the market revealed that some shops at the market are secretly reopening after one week of the two-week shutdown order placed on the market, by Anambra State Government.
Some parts of the market are gradually re-opening, while daily business transactions are gradually returning and furtively taking place at the various corners of the market, despite the shutdown order.
It was observed that despite the presence of some security agencies’ vehicles strategically parked at the market, with some officers cooling off therein; some shop owners defy the government’s shutdown order, and stealthily open their shops to attend to customers.
This act was mostly observed at the Ezenwa Plaza where some shop owners or their agents smartly position at the entrance of the plaza and deceitfully put their phones on their ears feigning call making while actually waiting for customers to be ushered in to their shops.
Some phone shops, foam shops, electronic shops, cloth sellers, and other service providers along Dike Park were also in operation, as people conducted their businesses uninterruptedly.
Also, some other shops along Zik Avenue axis of the market were observed to have closed from outside but open inside.
From Eke Awka Roundabout down to Gbalimgba area of the market, along which mostly building materials and household logistics are sold; the situation was not different, as people were seen buying and selling there.
On adherence to the COVID-19 protocols, the major reason government temporarily shut down the market; it was also observed that while some people put on their face masks properly, some others wore their own on the chin while some did not wear at all.
Furthermore, it was observed that the excessive thronging which the market was known for, were comparably eased. It was also that entrances to the market currently remain locked as they were in the day one of the enforcement.
It would be recalled that Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, through a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, ordered a total shutdown of Eke Awka Market for two weeks (15th to 29th June) over noncompliance to the COVID-19 safety protocols by the traders for not heeding government’s warning and advice while re-opening the market and other 63 major markets in the state (on May 4th) earlier shutdown due to COVID-19 outbreak.