By Jude Atupulazi
The Anambra State Government has lifted the ban on Agbedo Spare Parts Market, Nnewi. A press statement to that effect signed by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C. Don Adinuba, last Wednesday, said the lifting of the ban followed the pleas by the traders and stakeholders after the closure and government’s consideration of the prevailing economic climate in the country.
It will be recalled that the market was shut on Saturday, February 6, 2021, by the Anambra State Ministry of Trade and Commerce, for flagrant and constant violations of the COVID-19 protocols.
The government, while justifying the closure then, said that neither the traders nor customers wore face coverings and did not observe social or physical distancing.
The press statement also noted that the traders did not provide buckets of water, soaps or sanitizers in the market to enable people to wash their hands frequently for at least 20 seconds on each occasion.
‘As a result of the behaviour of the traders in this market and their customers, as well as the nonchalant attitude of officials of the market union, there has been a huge spike in the number of COVID-19 infections in Nnewi since this year.
Of course, the state government foresaw since late last year, a considerable increase in the number of infections in the state because millions of our people were coming from different parts of the country and beyond, including places with high incidences of infections and fatalities, to celebrate the Christmas and New Year with their families and friends.
‘Consequently, the government took several proactive measures to shield ndi Anambra as much as possible from the ravages of the virus, especially the new variants from South Africa, Brazil and the United Kingdom, which are more infectious and more deadly,’ Adinuba stated in the release.
He said it was in consideration of the above that the State Ministry of Trade and Commerce shut down the Agbedo New Spare Parts Market for one week, with effect from Monday, February 7, 2021.
He said it was done because the safety of all ndi Anambra everywhere in the world was of paramount importance to the Obiano Administration, and noted that on no account would the administration tolerate a situation which could threaten the existence of its people.
He disclosed that the market union had pledged to comply religiously with the protocols to check the COVID-19 pandemic in the state and also pledged to not only provide the facilities and materials needed in the market, but also to take the necessary disciplinary action against any person or group of persons that violated the rules.
‘They have, in addition, pledged to help the State Government bring the culprits to justice by sending them for trial at the mobile courts, Adinuba said in the press release.
He warned stakeholders in the market against abusing Governor Obiano’s compassionate decision, warning that the State Government would not hesitate to shut down the market again, or, indeed, any other market which contravened the protocols to check COVID-19.
‘The health and safety of our people remain supreme,’ the statement concluded.