In response to public outcry over the shutdown of markets, the Anambra State Government has reopened all food markets across the state with immediate effect.
Following the record of the first case of coronavirus, the state had on Tuesday commenced a total Lockdown of the statement, resulting in the closure of food markets in the state
The latest directive on reopening of the food markets which came on Wednesday, mandated Community leaderships to ensure that only those who sale food items and essential food items are allowed to open their shops in the market.
The directive read, “The Presidents General, using the vigilantes are mandated to enforce this directive in the markets within their communities. The current arrangement which started yesterday has been disbanded immediately.
“It is prohibited to allow any trader to display any other item other than foodstuff and essential food items in any market in the state during this period. We regret any inconveniences this might have caused.”
Confirming the reopening of the market, the state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C-Don Adinuba said the decision was rescinded because some of the news markets were found to be smaller than expected.
“It is a little policy adjustment. Because some of the new markets are found to be smaller than we expected, we are back to the old markets which will now sit only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We don’t want compact markets which will encourage physical contact rather than social distancing,” Adinuba explained.
Reacting to the development, a trader at Eke-Awka market, Nonso Ibe said it goes to show that the state administration can not manage emergencies.
“Who is even advising the Governor? You want a stop to movement, yet you create another avenue for movement. They don’t think for the poor masses, rather they think just for themselves. Those in the informal sector of the economy are the most hit. Thank God it never worked. Some of these market men and women have their packing stores in the market where they sell these food. Without any plan for them to move their wares, I saw that it will be an exercise in futility,” he said.
Mazi Ikenna Nwafor, a civil servant harped on the need for the state government to be proactive, rather than reactive.
“I wonder if the government of Anambra state engages in meetings where ideas are exchanged, examined in tandem with the realities on ground before dishing out orders or directives. Those in the communities should have been allowed to make inputs on the workability of such policy. It was disheartening to see market women-run helter-skelter yesterday all in the name of enforcement. Only for it to be relaxed in less than 24hrs. Is it not funny?” he queried.
However, for a public affairs analyst based in Nnewi, David Nkeli, the government should be commended and not vilified for residing an unpopular decision it took.
“I congratulate the State Government on its courage to reverse itself. But another ballgame is money to buy the food items. Banks are not operating in my area ( Nnewi). Banks should also be directed to commence full operations. ATM is not enough,” Nkeli suggested.