Coronavirus: Police close down markets, create food centres in Anambra

THE police enforcement teams for the stay -at – home order have created food markets for all the 179 communities in Anambra State and closed down all the existing markets in the state. The reason behind the new policy was to ensure that traders maintained reasonable distances from each other in line with the efforts being made to stop the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the state.

Most of the markets, which began operation yesterday, are located in the playground of primary schools and village squares. The number of markets in a community depends on its population, even though many women complained yesterday that the development had created more problems for the people as some of the markets were not easy to assess. According to the women, transportation to the new markets was not easy as they are located mainly on the outskirts of the towns. However, the police said it was in their own interest to move to more spacious areas to ensure that buyers and sellers did not cluster together.

Justifying the need for the food centers, the state police command said: “We wish to notify the public that effective from 8am on Tuesday 14/4/2020, all existing food markets are to be shut down completely till further notice. “Sellers of food items and other essential consumables are required to move their commodities to the freshly designated locations. “The essence of the new locations is to restrict commercial activities to food items and other approved essentials and to ensure that buying and selling hold within a well spaced environment that permits observance of the social distancing protocol. “The markets in every community will operate between 8am and 3pm daily.

“Market leaders and affected vendors have been fully notified, while Transition Committee Chairmen and Presidents’ General of communities will be on ground to manage the new facilities.” Enugu markets shut in the interest of the people — Enugu residents, NANS In Enugu, a cross section of residents have commended the decision of the Enugu North Local Government Council to close the tomato section of Akwatta Market in Ogbete Main Market, Enugu, saying the place was turning a disease breeding place. Also, the state chapter of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS has said that the closure of the market was for in best interest of the residents of the state as it constituted an eyesore and is dangerous to the health of the people.

They said the closure of the market became even more pertinent as part of the Enugu State Government’s precautionary measures to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the state. Recall that the chairman of Enugu North council, Hon. Emeka Onunze, had on March 23, 2020, shut down the Akwatta Market, in response to the disturbing poor hygiene of the sub-section of the Ogbete Main Market, Enugu for fear of its environmental consequences on the health of the people, especially at this period of COVID-19 pandemic. The state government also on March 27, 2020 shut all the markets in the state as well as the land boundaries and inter-state transportation, effective Tuesday, April 1, 2020. On a compliance monitoring visit to the shut markets, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, accompanied by the State Commissioner for Police, the Director of Department of State Services, DSS, the residents commended the proactive decision, particularly the Akwata tomato market closure because of health risk it posed, They described the decisions by the Enugu State government and Enugu North council as “timely and in the best interest of the public”, insisting that any move to ensure strict adherence to social distancing protocol of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, should be supported. For a New Haven, Enugu resident, Chukwuemeka Okeke, the state government has taken “decisive measures to ensure that this deadly virus called COVID-19 does not spread in this state”, saying that the closure of Akwatta Market by Enugu North council to enable the Council upgrade the market to standard for conducive business transactions, was “a welcome development”. According to a trader at Abakpa Nike market, Mrs. Ngozi Amanze, “I support the decision of the government to close the markets to save our people from this dangerous and dreaded coronavirus pandemic. It is not easy for us but we have to be alive to make money. We thank the governor for protecting us.” Acccording to the State Chairman of NANS, Comrade Romanus Ogene, “the students are in full support of all the precautionary measures by the state government to contain COVID-19 in the state, including the closure of Akwatta Market, Enugu, the entire Ogbete Main Market and other markets in the state.” Comrade Ogene expressed worry that “some self-serving politicians with their eyes on the 2023 elections have taken delight in twisting facts in Enugu State by using the social media platforms to mislead the public at the expense of truth.” Abia begins fumigation of markets, public buildings Also yesterday,  Abia State government has commenced the fumigation of markets, motor parks and other public places in Aba and Umuahia cities of the state. Flagging off the exercise in Umuahia, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, who was represented by the Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Solomon Ogunji, expressed gratitude to God that the State is yet to record any confirmed case of COVID-19. He enjoined all hands to be on deck to prevent the disease from spreading to Abia and assured that the state is prepared to tackle the virus. In his words, “We have provided isolation centers, delivered palliatives to our people, and now, it is time to get public places in the state fumigated to further protect our people. No effort will be spared by this administration in protecting the people of this state from COVID-19 and other challenges because our understanding of good governance is simply that of government of the people, for the people and by the people. By the grace of God, we shall continue to live up to that understanding.” He urged private sector organizations to ensure they take a cue from the exercise and use the window provided by the lockdown to also fumigate their premises. Leading the team of environmental Health Officers to fumigate public places in Aba, Ogunji urged the people to stay at home to avoid any possible health hazard. In an interview, Executive Secretary, Abia State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Chinagozi Adindu, said the exercise has to do with fumigation and disinfection which he described as a proactive measure to stop the transmission of the disease in the state. He disclosed that the state boasts of sufficient trained manpower who can handle the situation in the case of any disease outbreak. He further stated that disease surveillance officers have been empowered to move around the 17 council areas to detect cases and report appropriately. One of the environmental health officers, who participated in the exercise, Ndudim Adindu, told Vanguard that the team has been able to fumigate the markets in Aba and Umuahia, Government House, and State Legislative Complex, among others. Observe all the rules, Anambra regent tells subjects In a related development, the Regent of Mbosi community in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State and  Head, Traditional Institutions and Customs,  His Royalty, Prince Okey-Joe Onuakalusi, has advised his subjects to endeavour to observe proper personal hygiene, physical distancing and frequent hand washing, as recommended by the World Health Organization. WHO, to avoid contamination of the deadly corona virus.

In his Easter message to the people of Mbosi, Onuakalusi also charged his subjects to have a good and quality sleep/good rest as another factor that will help them during these trying times. According to Onuakalusi who is also a legal practitioner based in Lagos, “Sound sleep is the greatest healer of all sicknesses, so I implore us to ensure we get enough sound sleep in these times. “Events of the moment have necessitated this write up to my beloved citizens of Mbosi. We are all aware that we are in most trying and disturbing times in recent history. These are times when people are bombarded with all sorts of news that are getting more negative and frightening with each day that passes. “These are times when people can hardly find sincere answers to their questions because of the social media frenzy where everyone is a journalist.” “It is however also a time when we need to take a decision to be responsible enough to evaluate what we listen to and what we hear. We must realize that not every news is authentic information for our ears/minds. “In these times when people are not only tired, but intimidated by other surrounding uncertainties  such as insecurity and poor economy, forcing people to run from pillar to post, I have come your way as your Regent to sound it out loud to you all not to fear, but to do the needful and leave the rest to God. This too shall pass! “History had availed us of a litany of pandemics/plaques in the Last 100 years during which time there were absence of modern science and technology that are available today to provide medical assistance; yet men and women survived. How much more now? So, I reiterate that this too, shall come to pass.”

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