Angry Obiano Closes Eke Awka Market

Over Non-Observance of COVID-19 Directives

Effective from Monday, June 15, the popular Eke Awka Market in Anambra State capital, will be shut down. This followed the failure of the market traders and their customers to comply with COVID-19 protocols, reports Jude Atupulazi, with additional reports from Ifeoma Ezenyilimba.

Also, effective from same Monday, curfew in Awka South Local Government Area will be from 8pm to 6am daily, until further notice. Presently, Anambra has been observing the revised national curfew of between 10pm to 4am.

Anambra had on Tuesday night recorded 17 new cases of COVID-19, bringing to 53, the cases of positive cases in the state.
In a press statement signed by the Secretary to the Anambra State Government, SSG, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu, the state government based its latest decision on the non-compliance by the Eke Awka Market traders and customers with Covid-19 protocols, including wearing of protective face masks, provision of running water and soap for washing of hands, and keeping of physical distancing; developments that have seen the number of COVID-19 cases in the state shoot up alarmingly, especially in Awka South.

In the release, the government also warned other market leaders and local government councils in the state of similar action if they failed to observe the COVID-19 protocols.

Indeed, Fides investigations discovered that at the Eke Awka Market, it is the traders themselves that default the most, as many of them do not wear face masks, even though they have water containers and hand washers in front of their shops. On the other hand, many customers who wear masks, tend to do so wrongly.

And now, in an obvious angry reaction, the Anambra State Government has decided to close the market till further notice.

Efforts by Fides to get the reaction of the chairman of Eke Awka Market, Mr Jude Agumadu, through telephone calls and text message, failed, as he neither picked his calls nor replied the text message.

But a trader at the market who spoke with Fides on the phone, Mr Promise Okeke, who sells provision and toiletries, agreed that the traders had not done enough in the area of observing the COVID-19 protocols.

He regretted that rather than enforce the observance of the World Health Organization’s rules, the market leadership was more interested in extorting money from traders.
He said that, for example, whereas the state government suspended the payment of the annual N12, 200 development levy by the traders in a bid to cushion the effects of the lockdown, the market leadership insisted on traders paying same and had given them up till Monday, June 15, to pay it or risk having their shops closed.

Also in his reaction, a cosmetics dealer at the Market, Mr Simon Chetuya, appealed to the government to step down the closure of the market, and, to instead, enforce the observance of the COVID-19 protocols.

Mr. Chetuya, who said he observed the protocols which included regular washing of hands with soap and running water, as well as use of face masks, called on other traders and other individuals to also observe the NCDC’s and government’s directives so as to join hands in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

In the meantime, traders and customers are in for another round of frustrations following the decision to close the capital city market from next Monday, with an 8pm to 6am curfew to be imposed on Awka South alone, as the government monitors developments in other places.

Effective from Monday, June 15, the popular Eke Awka Market in Anambra State capital, will be shut down. This followed the failure of the market traders and their customers to comply with COVID-19 protocols, reports Jude Atupulazi, with additional reports from Ifeoma Ezenyilimba.

Also, effective from same Monday, curfew in Awka South Local Government Area will be from 8pm to 6am daily, until further notice. Presently, Anambra has been observing the revised national curfew of between 10pm to 4am.

Anambra had on Tuesday night recorded 17 new cases of COVID-19, bringing to 53, the cases of positive cases in the state.

In a press statement signed by the Secretary to the Anambra State Government, SSG, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu, the state government based its latest decision on the non-compliance by the Eke Awka Market traders and customers with Covid-19 protocols, including wearing of protective face masks, provision of running water and soap for washing of hands, and keeping of physical distancing; developments that have seen the number of COVID-19 cases in the state shoot up alarmingly, especially in Awka South.

In the release, the government also warned other market leaders and local government councils in the state of similar action if they failed to observe the COVID-19 protocols.
Indeed, Fides investigations discovered that at the Eke Awka Market, it is the traders themselves that default the most, as many of them do not wear face masks, even though they have water containers and hand washers in front of their shops. On the other hand, many customers who wear masks, tend to do so wrongly.

And now, in an obvious angry reaction, the Anambra State Government has decided to close the market till further notice.

Efforts by Fides to get the reaction of the chairman of Eke Awka Market, Mr Jude Agumadu, through telephone calls and text message, failed, as he neither picked his calls nor replied the text message.

But a trader at the market who spoke with Fides on the phone, Mr Promise Okeke, who sells provision and toiletries, agreed that the traders had not done enough in the area of observing the COVID-19 protocols.

He regretted that rather than enforce the observance of the World Health Organization’s rules, the market leadership was more interested in extorting money from traders.
He said that, for example, whereas the state government suspended the payment of the annual N12, 200 development levy by the traders in a bid to cushion the effects of the lockdown, the market leadership insisted on traders paying same and had given them up till Monday, June 15, to pay it or risk having their shops closed.

Also in his reaction, a cosmetics dealer at the Market, Mr Simon Chetuya, appealed to the government to step down the closure of the market, and, to instead, enforce the observance of the COVID-19 protocols.

Mr. Chetuya, who said he observed the protocols which included regular washing of hands with soap and running water, as well as use of face masks, called on other traders and other individuals to also observe the NCDC’s and government’s directives so as to join hands in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

In the meantime, traders and customers are in for another round of frustrations following the decision to close the capital city market from next Monday, with an 8pm to 6am curfew to be imposed on Awka South alone, as the government monitors developments in other places.

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