* Seek Police help to arrest defiant traders

coronavirus in trade fair
President, Balogun Business Association, Mr Tony Obi

By Evelyn Usman

Market leaders in Trade Fair Complex, along the Mile Two- Badagry expressway, Lagos, have put up precautionary measures to contain the spread of the Coronavirus Disease into the market.

They have also, called on Police authorities to accord them the right to arrest traders who failed to carry out stipulated directives towards achieving the aim.

The call is coming on the heels of complaints that some of the traders at the Balogun wing of the market failed to obey directives on the provision of water and soap for customers to wash their hands before entering the plaza.

Speaking with journalists on the level of compliance to the precautionary measures, the President, Balogun Business Association, Mr Tony Obi, said that on the part of the association, buckets of water were stationed at the entrance gates as well as a thermometer to test the temperature of everyone entering the premises.

Though he stated that it was not possible to get one hundred per cent compliance to the Federal Government’s directive, but was quick to add that, ” On our part, we owe it a duty to enforce the directives which include social distancing, wearing of face masks, providing and using sanitizers for customers.

“We have no problem. with the directive of the government to either close down or ensure the continuity of the market as a result of the invasion of the virus”.

On his part, Chief Security Officer of the association, Mr Okechukwu Emechebe, said to ensure strict adherence to the directive, shops of erring traders were sealed by the association.

But he said sealing of the shops was not enough and therefore appealed to the Lagos State Police Command to give the association a marching order to arrest and hand over erring traders to it.

He said, ” The challenges we have is, dealing with human beings because of their complex nature.

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“Part of efforts made so far to ensure that the Federal Government’s directive reaches the grassroots has been cumbersome because many people still believe that Coronavirus is a hoax.

“We have brought healthcare workers, operatives of the Department of State Service, DSS among others, to educate the people on the best way to protect themselves against the virus.

” Every morning, we have a team that goes round to remind the people of government policies and what they are supposed to do to stay safe.

We have also advised customers to ensure the use of mobile banking for their transactions instead of being physically present for cash transfers. This will drastically reduce face- to- face interactions and by extension, reduce the spread of the virus.

“We have also set up another team, ‘Operation Show Your Sanitiser’ which started going round shops on Thursday, May 14, 2020, to ensure adherence of traders to the protection policies of the government.

In addition, vehicles have been stationed to go around the complex during the closing period to remind traders that closing time is 2.30 pm in respect of the curfew.

“We have also ensured that people with cars coming into the market maintain a line and avoid driving against traffic so that law and order will be maintained.

“This has helped to prevent fighting and reduce traffic which the market is known for during market hours.

“We seal shops of those who do not comply with the directive of the government but I would be glad if we can hand them over to the government to be quarantined for 14 days”, he said.



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