Posted by News Express | 13 June 2020 | 1,338 times
By PAMELA EBOH, Awka
Enforcement officials of the COVID-19 task force set up by the Anambra State Government on Friday stormed Eke Awka Market to ensure total compliance with the wearing of face masks which traders have consistently flouted since markets were re-opened.
To this end, offenders of the compulsory mask wearing law received strokes of the cane from the enforcement officials.
The enforcement officers were seen at the entrances to the market with canes as they ensured that no individual entered the market without a facemask on.
One of market leaders, Chibuzor Ibezim, said they decided to be more serious with the facemasks enforcement to see if the government could rescind its decision on the market closure.
He said: “It’s unfortunate they took the decision of closing the market. But you can see we are not resting on our oars in enforcing the protocols, despite the resistance from the defaulters. More than 90 percent of people in the market are wearing the mask.
“We plead with the government not to go ahead with the closure because it will affect us badly. We’re still suffering from the losses we incurred during the period of lockdown.”
One of the victims of the flogging, a middle aged woman who pleaded anonymity, said flogging defaulters of facemasks was not the best way to enforce the order.
“Actually, I have facemask, but I forgot it at home. But is that why they should be flogging us like children? They should find a better way of making people see the need of using the masks.”
News Express reports that the State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, had on Thursday announced the closure of the market with effect from Monday, May 15, 2020 following non-compliance of COVID-19 protocols by the traders.
A separate statement to the that effect which was made available by both the Commissioner for Information and Enlightenment, Mr. C Don Adinuba, and the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Solo Chukwudobelu, had cited non-compliance by the market traders and customers with COVID-19 protocols as reason for the closure.
The statement by the Chukwudobelu partly reads: “This is to inform the public that effective Monday, 15th June, 2020, Eke Awka Market, in Awka South Local Government will be shut down.
“This is as a result of non-compliance by the market traders and customers with Covid-19 protocols including wearing of protective face masks, provision of running water and soap for washing of hands, keeping of physical distancing, etc.
“Also, effective Monday, 15th June, 2020, curfew in Awka South local government will be from 8pm to 6am daily, until further notice.
“These actions by the government is as a result of increased cases of Covid-19 in Awka South Local Government.
“The government is also putting other market leaders and local government councils in the state on notice that a similar curfew action will be taken, and markets in the local government closed down if it is observed that such markets do not observe COVID-19 protocols.
“All should please be guided and take the issue of observing COVID-19 protocols seriously.”
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