A cross-section of Enugu residents and the state chapter of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) have hailed the decision of the Enugu North Local Government Council to close the Tomato section of Akwatta Market in Ogbete Main Market, Enugu, describing it as a clarion call answered.
The state residents and students also applauded the Enugu State Government for closing all the markets in the state as one of the precautionary measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in the state.
It would be recalled that the chairman of Enugu North LGA, Hon Emeka Onunze, on March 23, shut down the Akwatta Market, in response to the disturbing poor hygiene of the sub-section of the Ogbete Main Market, Enugu and its environmental consequences on the health and wellbeing of the people, especially at this moment of COVID-19 pandemic.
Shortly after that, the state government on March 27, closed all markets, land boundaries and inter-state transportation, which took effect from Tuesday, April 1.
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, accompanied by the State Commissioner for Police, the Director of Department of State Services (DSS), among others, on April 1, monitored compliance with the directive at the Ogbete Main Market, Enugu, where the traders hailed the governor for his proactive measures.
Reacting to the development, some state residents said that the decisions by the Enugu state government and Enugu North LGA were timely and in the best interest of the public, stressing that any move to ensure strict adherence to social distancing protocol of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) should be supported.
A resident of New Haven, Enugu, Barr Chukwuemeka Okeke, said that he was impressed that the state government has taken: “Decisive measures to ensure that this deadly virus called COVID-19 does not spread in this state”.
Barr Okeke added that the closure of Akwatta Market by Enugu North LGA, to enable the Council to upgrade the market to standard for conducive business transactions, is “a welcome development.”
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Mrs Ngozi Amanze, a trader at Abakpa Nike market said that: “I support the decision of Gburugburu to close the markets to save our people from this dangerous disease they called Coronavirus. Even though it is not easy for you, but you have to be alive to make money. We thank the governor for protecting us.”
Another resident, Emmanuel Eke, warned that COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global health challenge that should not be playing politics with, maintaining that: “The actions of the Enugu state government are in order and should be supported by all well-meaning residents of this state”.
Also speaking, the state chairman of NANS, Comrade Romanus Ogene, said that the students are in support of all the precautionary measures by the state government to contain COVID-19 in the state, including the closure of Akwatta Market, Enugu, the entire Ogbete Main Market and other markets in the state.
Comrade Ogene stated that the students are worried that some self-serving politicians with their eyes on the 2023 elections have taken delight in twisting facts in Enugu state, using the social media platforms to mislead the public at the expense of truth.
“It has come to our knowledge that some politicians are now using some people to fabricate lies, all aimed at the next elections. This is condemnable and must be discouraged. Let these sponsors wait till 2023. The students, therefore, called on residents of Enugu state to be wary of the handiwork of such mischief-makers and disregard media reports that residents of the state are unhappy with the closure of Akwatta Market and others.”