Covid-19: Owerri traders defy lockdown order

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  • Ekeonunwa, Rotibi, Ama Hausa full of activities
  • It is disappointing-Emelumba

By AFAM Echi

There are signs that traders in the capital city of Owerri are tired of the government sit at home order if the business activities going on in Owerri presently is anything to go by.

In the wake of the dreaded Coronavirus which originated in China, and decimating people globally, government had as part of effort to stem the spread of the virus ordered that everybody should sit at home. 

After the expiry of the first two weeks which commenced March 30, the government has tightened the noose further by imposing a dusk to dawn curfew in the state since last Saturday bringing the state into what some has described as being under 24 hours curfew.

But it would look like the situation does not register in the minds of Owerri traders who are seen to have resumed their businesses as usual.

 At commencement, there was some degree of compliance when the security operatives especially soldiers appear to be on top of the game. At the early days one can site an empty Douglas road from the beginning to the end.

When our reporter moved round to check the level of compliance it was gathered that most traders are back to base and cruising with their businesses. Douglas road is full of activities like before the lockdown. Only few stalls were not open.

At the Douglas road market (Ekeonunwa) activities are in high gear with over 60% of business taking place. When the reporter sought the views of one trader on why they have returned to the market she gave this opinion.

The woman who simply gave her name as Helen had this to say, ‘’Oga government has not paid my husband, my sister who used to help me is also owed by the government, my children are there crying, who will feed them if I don’t come out, is it not time to call of this thing?’’

 A mini bus driver who plies the route Uratta to the market disclosed that bus drivers have been doing their runs and manages to do so by settling the various security checkpoints. According to him, ‘any day I don’t go out what will my children eat? Don’t tell me about government that is not doing anything for me’’

At the Ama Hausa along Douglas activities are in full force like before the lockdown. There is no form of enforcement around the area. Occasionally, the security operatives’ makes their presence felt when they go round and make some arrests.

The Imo Information Commissioner, Declan Emelumba, when contacted on the matter acknowledged it expressing his disappointment but promised the government will handle the situation. Majority of the people are neither observing the social distance nor kitted with personal protective equipment (PPE).

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