Report on Interest

Abuja traders demand review of Market lockdown guidelines

By Monsuru Olowoopejo
The Traders in Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja have demanded that the guidelines on lockdown be reviewed to allow markets commence operation like other states battling coronavirus pandemic in the country.
They added that their wish was that the FCT Administrators review the guidelines and allow traders return to markets for a three times weekly activities.
The traders made the appeal yesterday when their leaders paid a courtesy visit to office of Minister FCT Administration and pledged their support to the COVID-19 containment strategies adopted by the administrators.
In his remarks, chairman of the Committee, Raphael Okorie, said that the Association will like to see an easing of the lockdown especially on market operational days.
“The market associations, he said, would like the markets to open 3 times a week and also allow for the selling of other commodities besides food items which is currently in effect”.
The Chairman, however, said that the Committee was in the FCTA to show appreciation to the FCT Minister for the way he is successfully managing the pandemic in the FCT.
“We are here to appreciate the Minister for all he has done to see that Abuja has not turned to a disaster zone. We are here to say that we are solidly behind all the decisions, policies and programmes that the Minister has implemented to keep FCT residents safe and also well fed with the palliatives distribution that is ongoing”.
Speaking on the implementation of the lockdown, Okorie stated that the lockdown was the safest thing that will happen to the FCT to ensure the safety of lives during the pandemic.
The Minister, Muhammad Bello, in his response thanked the market associations for making economic activities in the FCT very vibrant and their support for the FCTA in the fight against COVID-19.
 Bello said that the FCT Administration had taken note of the requests from the Market Associations and will present them during its weekly COVID-19 review meetings for further discussions.
He, however, reminded the leaders of the various market associations that despite increasing the number of business hours from 8:00 am to 3:00pm, from the initial 10:00 am to 2:00pm,the activities at the markets still left a lot to be desired in terms of social distancing.
Bello also called for the continuous cooperation of traders and market association in the FCT in the fight against COVID-19 while praying that God will guide all to do the right things.

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