By Temitope Akintoye,
Following assessment of the spread of coronavirus in Lagos State, the State Chapter of the Market Leaders and Traders’ Association of Nigeria has appealed for an extension of markets closure following the Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s annuouncement that markets and other public places would be shut down across the state for seven days.
The governor had recently issued orders of closure to all markets, courts and other public places in the state, saying that the closures were with aim to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus in the state as a means of aiding the country to successfully overcome the viral pandemic within its borders.
The union leaders explained that the body had considered recent rise in incidence of confirmed cases of the viral infection and deemed it wise to nullify possible places of congregation, such as Lagos markets which usually recorded high influx of people on a daily basis, and which could further aid spread of the disease within the country.
The President of the Association, Christopher Okpala, reiterated that the body was first concerned about life, health and well being of market traders, workers and customers, and that trade and profit making came secondary, adding that only people who are alive and well would be able to make purchases and carry out transactions.
Speaking in a statement released through the Secretary of the association, Okey Enwuru, on Tuesday, Okpala disclosed that the body preferred that markets be reoppened on April 4, 2020, as opposed to the state government proposed reopening date of April 2, and sought for an extension to be effected by the Sanwo-Olu led administration reflecting that.
He also advised market leaders under aegis of the body to implement safety measures by ensuring the availability and use of infrared thermometers in their markets to screen all customers and traders before entrance into the trading areas, and that shops and stall owners should provide hand sanitizers which would be used by their customers and themselves with aim to prevent infection incidence in their locations.
The union boss urged all members to follow government orders on markets closure and stay home during the temporary market shutdown, as well as maintaining proper social distancing measures of at least six feet between individuals at all times, adding that personal hygiene methods and other preventive measures as advised by health agnecies should be fully upheld.
“We advise all our members to adhere strictly to any information or directives from the Lagos State Government and other relevant regulatory bodies relating to curtailing the spread of the COVID-19,”
“We regret any inconvenience these measures may cause our members,our customers and the general public but reminding us again that only the living will transact business (LIFE FIRST), while praying and hoping that God will intervene very soon to save Nigeria and entire world from this precarious situation”.