By: Uche Okeke.
On Friday 8th May, 2020, the Chairmen and Secretaries of various markets associations in the FCT paid a courtesy visit to the Federal Capital Territory Authority, FCTA to pledge their support in the efforts of the Administration in containing the spread of COVID-19 in Abuja.
In a Press release by the Chief Press Secretary to the Minister of FCT Anthony Ogunleye and obtained by focusonabuja.com, the chairman of the Committee, Mr Raphael Okechukwu Okorie who is also the Chairman of the Wuse Market Traders Association said that the Committee was in the FCTA to show appreciation to the FCT Minister for the way he is successfully managing the pandemic in the FCT.
In the words of Mr. Okorie, “We are here to appreciate the Minister for all he has done to see that Abuja has not turned to a disaster zone. We are here to say that we are solidly behind all the decisions, policies and programmes that the Minister has implemented to keep FCT residents safe and also well fed with the palliatives distribution that is ongoing”. Mr. Okorie said.
Speaking on the implementation of the lockdown, Mr Okorie said “the lockdown is the safest thing that will happen to the FCT to ensure the safety of lives during the pandemic”.
He however said that the Association will like to see an easing of the lockdown especially on market operational days.
The market associations, he said, would like the markets to open 3 times a week and also allow for the selling of other commodities besides food items which is currently in effect.
In his response, The Honourable Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello thanked the market associations for making economic activities in the FCT very vibrant and their support for the FCTA in the fight against COVID-19.
Malam Bello said that the FCT Administration had taken note of the requests from the Market Associations and will present them during its weekly COVID-19 review meetings for further discussions. He however reminded the leaders of the various market associations that despite increasing the number of business hours from 8:00 am to 3:00pm, from the initial 10:00 am to 2:00pm, the activities at the markets still left a lot to be desired in terms of social distancing.
He also called for the continuous cooperation of traders and market association in the FCT in the fight against COVID-19 while praying that God will guide all to do the right things.
Also present at the meeting were the Permanent Secretary, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, the Chief of Staff to the Minister, Malam Bashir Mai-Borno and other senior staff of the FCT Administration.