COVID-19: Edo Government to relocate markets to government schools,to proscute people without mask
By Francis Ogbuagu, Benin City
The Edo State Government, Monday, announced it is relocating major markets in the state to nearest government primary and secondary Schools starting from 12 midnight Tuesday, in an attempt to checkmate the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Deputy governor of the state, Comrade Phillip Shaibu, who announced this in Benin during a meeting with leaders of market women explained that the decision was taken in order to allow for a proper fumigation of all the markets in Benin.
Shaibu debunked the rumour making the rounds in the state that Governor Godwin Obaseki was down with the dreaded disease, insisting that he (Obaseki) was hale and hearty and only went on self isolation after meeting Mr. Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
In the meantime, Shaibu said that the traders will be relocated to public primary and secondary schools pending the fumigation of the markets.
According to him, the state Public Works Volunteers (PUWOV) have been mandated to maintain peace at the makeshift markets, noting that armed policemen and officials of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSDC) will not be allowed into the premises as they will be outside to maintain peace.
The Deputy Governor said that only 50 dealers in foodstuffs will be accommodated at each of the temporary markets while the rest of their colleagues will have to wait till March 15 when the markets re-open after the fumigation, adding that the government decided to take the middle course instead of a total closure.
He said: “Only the fumigators will be given access to the markets for the duration of the exercise. It is only the sale of food items that will be allowed at this temporary markets. The traders will have to be relocated to allow for a proper job of fumigating the markets.”
The Deputy Governor disclosed that the state government has mandated that anyone who wants to leave his or home to public places use facemask, saying anyone who flouted this would be prosecuted accordingly.
He noted that, going by the hike in facemask, the state government would liaising with some clothes marchants and tailors for mass production of the face-mask so that people can afford it.
“Government has mandated that if at all you must leave your home for public places, you must use a facemask. You can make a local one for yourself. You can use your handkerchief for one. What we are saying is, if you must come out of your house, you must use one. We have discovered that, some persons contracted the virus by unkowningly having contact with people with this virus. So, anyone who does not use facemask in public places would be prosecuted.
“Government is aware that facemask price has skyrocketed, and so many can no longer afford it. What the government plans to do is to liaise with clothes marchants and tailors to have facemask in mass production so our people can afford it”, he added.
On her part, State Coordinator, World Health Organization (WHO), Mrs Faith Ireye said the state has so far recorded 11 cases of the virus and penned down 234 contacts being traced across the state.
While urging people to stay at home in order to prevent spread of the virus, Ireye lamented that people are not willing to disclosed information about suspected cases couple with multiple contacts of people with the virus had made the job of tracing contact difficult