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Traders decry threat to shut Banex plaza over COVID-19 violation

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By Ben Adoga

Traders have expressed alarm over threat by the FCT COVID 19 Enforcement Team to shut Banex Plaza at Wuse 11, Abuja over alleged safety protocols violation.

The enforcement team had threatened to shut the popular plaza and EFAB Mall, if they continued to flout the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations, 2021. head, media, enlightenment and publicity of the task force, Comrade Ikharo Attah, said the warning became necessary following the flagrant violation of COVID-19 protocols observed in both plazas.

Attah, who spoke with newsmen shortly after a sitting of the FCT mobile court, disclosed that most of the offenders brought before the court were picked up from the two plazas, even as he observed that the affected plazas were found not to have provisions for hand washing points or temperature machines at their entry points. Attah warned that the administration would not fold its arms and watch the offenders risk the lives of residents of the territory.

One of the traders, who simply identified himself as Chinedu, told this paper that they had resolved to obey all the protocols to keep their business going. He said most of them belonged to the informal sector of the market where they eke a living on the daily bases.

He said the total lockdown during the first wave exposed their vulnerability and that they would do everything to avoid another sealing of the market. Obasi said for each day, they make enough money to keep their families going.

Others who spoke in rowdy manner begged the FCT Administration not to make true their threat, but give them a chance to adjust to the new normal.

However, Attah had earlier said that the team would not relent in apprehending violators, saying “The minister and the police commissioner have not asked us to stop.”

The 47 persons who were arrested were tried before the mobile court for the violation of face mask, all pleaded guilty and were given a N2000 fine or an option of community service.

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