COVID-19: Traders locked out of Warri market for flouting safety measures

Traders at the ever-busy Igbudu Market in Warri South council area of Delta state, were Monday morning locked out for flouting precautionary measures against the novel Coronavirus.

Chairman of Warri South Local Government Area, Dr. Michael Tidi, who ordered the shut down about 6pm on Sunday, said the decision was reached after deliberations with security chiefs and leaders of Igbudu Market Traders’ Union.

Recall that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state had directed a complete lockdown of all markets across the state beginning from April 1.

But until then, he had ordered market leaders to ensure preventive materials against COVID-19, such as water and soap and hand sanitizers, are provided for visitors’ and traders’ use.

However, a visit to Igbudu Market at the weekend revealed a total non-compliance to the directive of the state governor.

As at 9am, the market remained locked, while some traders, especially food sellers, were seen on the sides with their wares, trying to make as much sales as they could.

The presence of security operatives was also observed to ensure the closure.

According to the council boss, the security agencies were directed to ensure full compliance of the shutdown order.

The distraught traders hung around helplessly, some were hurdled together in discussions, not really aware of the reason behind the early lockdown of business activities.

A cloth seller, who simply gave her name as Esther said, “I thought they said it will start from Wednesday. I don’t understand why they have come to shut the market two days earlier. How are we going to cope? I learnt Effurun Market is open, so why us?”

Asked if they have been practising the preventive measures in the market, Gregory, a shoe seller said, “I have my sanitizer that I use in my shop. I don’t know about other people.”

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