Major markets in Anambra state have procured Infrared Thermometer to read the temperature of both traders and customers at the entry point of the markets targeted at curbing the spread of coronavirus pandemic disease.
In some of the markets, health workers recruited by the market leadership would carryout the tests, while in other markets, the vigilante operatives would do the job, as one of the conditions stipulated by the state government for the re-opening of the markets in the state.
At the entry point, the either the health workers or the vigilante operatives would direct the visitors to first of all wash and sanitize their hands, then stand erect for their temperature to be read before they pass through the gate and enter into the market to transact their business or visit anybody.
Some of the markets which have so far adopted the reading method included Building Materials International Market, BMIM, Ogidi; Amalgamated Bakery Materials International market; Ogidi/Ogbunike; Plywood Market; Ogbunike, Bicycle Spare Parts Multi-purpose Cooperative market, Azu-Ogbunike, Cosmetics and Provisions Dealers Association, Ogbunike; New Tyre Market, Nkpor and Old Motor Spare Parts Market, Nkpo-Agu.
Confirming the development, the market chairmen Chief Jude Nwankwo of the BMIM, Chief Cyprain Okongwu of Plywood Market; Mr. Emma Anyaegbunam of Bicycle market; Chief Benjamin Ezenekwe of Bakery market; Hon Okechukwu Atuenyi of New Tyre Market and Chief Victor Elobi of Old Motor parts market commended Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State for timely relaxing the lockdown by opening the market so that people will not die of ‘hunger virus’.
According to the market leaders who spoke to newsmen in their various markets, “one of the conditions given to us by the state government for re-opening the market was to procure the Infrared Thermometer, provide wash hand buckets in the markets, adopt use of face masks and above all, set up a task force to enforce compliance”.
“So, what we are doing is to enforce the compliance as we agreed with the state government and we view Governor Obiano’s decision to re-open the markets as a rescue mission otherwise many people would have died of hunger virus if the markets had remained closed for more days”.
“The Governor is someone who is interested in the well-being of Ndi Anambra so anybody who refuses to adopt the preventive measures wants to commit suicide and we will not allow such a person here. Even our customers from the North or West have been advised to resort to placing order for goods and to pay via bank because if we see them here our taskforce will hand them over to NCDC for quarantine”, they further stated.
Chairman of the Plywood market, Cyprian Okongwu who spoke through his Second Vice, Maduabuchi Wilson Agu disclosed that their Market taskforce team was headed by himself with some Union executive members, adding that the matter of enforcing the pandemic preventive measures was not a job to be left for boys.
He commended Obiano for releasing N10 million to the market, under the Choose-your-market-project-initiative of the state government which he said was used to do german floor in some parts of the market and pleaded with the State Government to assist the market by constructing the road leading into the market from the Enugu/Onitsha Expressway to enable their customers and their vehicles have access into their market to patronize them.
Anyaegbunam of the Bicycle spare parts, in hos own statement, declared: “Akpokuodike (Obiano) rightly said that Anambra state cannot allow its economy to collapse because we have a strange visitor but he charged everyone to know that your safety is in your hands. We need him to assist us by tarring this road that links Bicycle market to the Enugu/Onitsha Expressway”.
According to the President-General of Amalgamated Bakery Material International market, Ogidi/Ogbunike, Chief Ezenekwe who spoke through his Vice, Mr. Chukwudi Ezeife, “We have three gates but we opened only two to enable our taskforce control and enforce the WHO/NCDC stipulated preventive measures in the market.
“We are doing our best to ensure compliance and we have not met any resistance. Although, we prefer if Government could supply us the kind of hand washing facility we saw at Dora Akunyili Women Development Center which one can use one’s foot to control the tap to avoid contaminating one’s hand after washing”, said Ezeife.
At New Tyre Market, Nkpor the PG, Atuenyi flanked by the VP, Chief Onyeka Ezeokoli described the opening of the Markets as a Christmas gift and commended Obiano for providing Security as an enabling environment for traders and customers even before the advent of the COVID 19 pandemic.
“I thank Governor Obiano for the security we enjoy in Anambra. Relaxing of the lockdown is a Christmas gift. We did not leave the enforcement of the preventive measures in the hands of the market security guards, that was to avoid provocation. 20-man Traders/taskforce had to leave their business to supervise the implementation of the stipulated preventive measures”.
“We hope that the Governor make good his promises of giving back 10percent of IGR collected from each market last year to them as a stimulus package and allow one month grace after reopening the market before we can start paying our taxes”, said Atueyi.
At Old Motor Spare parts Nkpor, Chief Elobi after assuring that their 30 member taskforce has been doing their job well, disclosed that they invited the police the first two days when few persons decided to be stubborn.
“Although we have provided enough water for hand washing but we need His Excellency to prevail on the Ministry of Utilities to help resurcitate our borehole as was promised during our meeting with the Governor at Aguleri”, said Elobi.
However, Some of the market leaders said they were still expecting government to extend palliative packages to the less privileged traders in the markets.