ANAMBRA State government has shut the Eke Awka Market in the state capital following alleged widespread violations of protocols in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C Don Adinuba, who said the market would be shut for two weeks with effect from Monday, June 15, 2020, observed that violations were carried out by traders and buyers, as well as suppliers in the market.
According to reports, the state government was worried that most of the COVID-19 cases in the state were traced to the market, despite the warnings and threats for the people to observe the requirements outlined for effective fight against the pandemic.
Although all the major 64 markets in the state were earlier shut during the nationwide lockdown, Governor Willie Obiano, while announcing the reopening, gave them conditions, among which were full observation of the Covid -19 protocols, including wearing of face masks, placing buckets of water and soap on their shops for washing of hands, providing sanitizers and maintaining social distancing.
However, a visit to the market showed that most of the people ignored the directive, with some even saying that they did not believe in coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Information Commissioner, the major condition for the reopening of markets on Monday, May 4, 2020, after five weeks of closure was that all stakeholders in the markets, like buyers and sellers, must always wear face coverings, provide water, soaps and hand sanitizers in every line, regretting that this was not the case in Eke Awka.
He said: “It is regrettable that these precautionary measures meant to protect the lives of millions of our people have flagrantly been violated habitually, especially in Awka Market. The result is the recent spike in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and even fatalities in our dear state.
“Awka South local government area, where Eke Awka is located, has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases of all LGAs in the state.”