By Ijendu Iheaka
Aba (Abia) – Traders in Aba, the Abia capital, who trooped out on Monday to begin trading, were prevented from opening their shops in compliance with government’s orders.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the traders were sent away by policemen, while some of them were arrested for opening shops against government’s directives.
NAN recalls that Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu had, on May 1, held a meeting with some market leaders in Abia, where it was agreed that there would be gradual relaxation of the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
The terms of the agreement included ensuring that market unions form task forces to help monitor compliance with safety regulations before the market could be allowed to open.
At the phone accessories and computer market at St. Michael’s road, Aba, a crowd of sellers and buyers were seen ready to start their business activities.
Some traders, who were about opening their shops as at the time NAN visited the place, were forced by policemen to stop until there was a directive from state government.
A trader, Ukachukwu Amaraonye, who spoke with NAN, begged the police to allow them carry on with their businesses, since the state government had begun gradual lockdown.
“We are hungry and there is no coronavirus here. So we should be allowed to open our shops and fend for our families.
“We are tired of staying at home and we are hungry; they should leave us alone,” he said.
Amaraonye, who noted that since government had allowed certain petty traders to do their businesses unhindered, they too should be allowed to open their shops.
On Hosptal road, some traders dealing in electrical hardware were seen discussing in groups, expressing the hope that they would be allowed to open their shops.
NAN also observed that many residents did not wear face masks and maintain social distancing, among other safety precautions, as directed by government and health professionals.
Some of the residents were also seen crowding bank entrances, while trying to enter the banking halls, while others were also sighted sleeping in some mosques in the state capital. (NAN)