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Abuja residents storm markets, flout physical distancing order


Many people were yesterday at various markets in the Federal Capital Territory in violation of the lockdown directive of the government. Daily Trust observed that at Garki Model Market, Garki International Market, Wuse Market, Utako Market, Nyanya Market, and Karu Market shoppers and traders flouted the physical distancing order. FCT Minister Muhammad Musa Bello had reviewed the three shopping days to two, Wednesday and Saturday, following an increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the territory. Drivers on major roads to the markets were also observed to have violated the transport directive of the FCT Administration that only three passengers be conveyed by a vehicle.

Some of the markets visited, however, had in place, safety measures as people were mandated to wear nose masks before entering. Mrs Eugenia Andrew was with a sanitizer and applied it on her hand regularly especially when she touched things at the market. She said the crowd at the market was not too much and the social distancing was not observed because the crowd was at the food section of the market. Some customers expressed fears over the crowd at the market and called for more sensitization on the protective measures to the suburb’s residents. A fish seller at Karu Market, Rabi’atu Adewale, said: “since we cannot close the market down totally, the government should create more awareness for people especially for dealing with huge crowd like this. The crowd is worrisome but because we don’t have money at home we have to come out and sell”.

A shopper, Mamman Hassan, said “When I came to the market today, I was surprised to see such a crowd. People are mingling without a nose mask, sanitizer or maintaining social distancing as if it is a normal situation. I think something has to be done” A trader at Wuse Market, Mohammed Sale, said he did not care if people observe or do not observe the social distancing in his shop. “I have been at home for several days and now it is an opportunity for me to make some money and taking two passengers will not help me,” a driver Jamiu Oladele said. The chairman of the FCT Ministerial Enforcement Task Force Team on COVID-19 Restriction, Ikharo Attah, said the situation was due to the “rush for Ramadan” and the fear that the lockdown might be extended. According to him, majority of the customers at the markets yesterday were the Muslim faithful who needed to stock their homes with food ahead of Ramadan. Attah said his went round major markets with megaphones to appeal to them to observe physical distancing.