Eke Awka Lockdown: Security Operatives Go Tough on Compliance

…Face Mask Enforcers Flog Defaulters

By Mercy Hill, Alexander Johnson Adejoh and Precious Ihunanya Ukeje

Compliance with Anambra Governor Willie Obiano’s order on the locking up of Eke Awka Market, has Monday, June 15, been enforced by a joint task force comprising several security agencies. This is even as men who are charged with enforcing the use of face masks have taken to flogging defaulters.

Fides gathered that men of the agencies that joined in the enforcement included the Nigeria Police Force; Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps; the Anambra Vigilante Group; Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra, OCHA Brigade; and the Anambra Traffic Management Agency, ATMA.

It will be recalled that Governor Willie Obiano had in a broadcast, Thursday, June 11, ordered that effective from Monday, 15th June, Eke Awka Market, would be shut down.

The Governor said it was as a result of non-compliance by the market traders and customers with COVID-19 protocols which included wearing of protective face masks, provision of running water and soap for washing of hands, among others.

He also ordered that curfew in Awka South Local Government Area would revert to 8pm to 6am daily until further notice.

In a phone interview with the Police Public Relations Officer in Anambra State, SP Haruna Mohammed, to ascertain how the police were going about the enforcement, he said the police were doing their job and making sure that there was no breakdown of law and order.

Speaking further, a policeman who pleaded anonymity, when asked if the joint force squad was planned or coincidental, simply said they were enforcing the orders of the Governor, who, he said, was making efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the state.

He added that it was neither a coincidence nor a planned event, but just the various agencies doing their bits to enforce the orders of the Governor, and helping to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

In a related development, men without uniforms were seen flogging and arresting people who did not wear face masks or wore them below their noses.

The unidentified men who did not find time to speak with the press, were seen with canes, perusing every vehicle that plied through Eke Awka and checking to be sure every commuter had a face mask on.

At the time of gathering this report, road side traders were seen with their goods packed and having nowhere to sell.