Markets in Nsukka town and environs, on Monday, re-opened, forty days after they were ordered to close by Enugu State Government, to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Gov Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had on April 1, imposed a Lockdown on the state following the first two confirmed coronavirus index cases in the state.
Ugwuanyi directed that markets, Churches, Mosques and other places of social gathering be shut, to curtail further spread of the deadly global virus.
However, as part of a gradual process to relax the lockdown in Enugu State, the governor, over the weekend, directed all markets in the state to reopen from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
When a correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), visited the three main markets in Nsukka town namely; Main Market, Building Materials Markets and Timber Market on Monday morning, majority of traders were seen sweeping and cleaning their dusty shops that had been closed for more than a month.
A trader, who identified himself as Mr Paul Ani, said he thanked God who provided for him and his family food and other basic needs for the past one month that the markets were closed.
“Barely one week after the closure of the markets as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, I nearly ran mad as foodstuff in my house got finished and I had no money in my pocket.
“I thank God who used some of my friends and relatives to provide assistance for my family and me.
“It will take time for me to forget my experience during this 40 days that markets were closed in the state,” Ani said.
Mrs Helen Ugwuoke, on her part, said she never envisaged that the market would be shut for more than two weeks.
“I spent all my bank savings to take care of my family needs in this past one month of “stay home’’.
“Even the money I was supposed to use to pay for some goods that I collected on credit from my suppliers before the closure of the market, I have spent all on feeding my family.
“My prayer is that God should prevent anything that will warrant government to close markets again,” Ugwuoke said.
Speaking with NAN, Mrs Ngozi Ozioko, the chairperson of Nsukka Main Market thanked the government for re-opening markets in the state.
Ozioko promised that her executives would ensure that all traders and buyers in the market adhered to the laid down rules on curbing the spread of the disease.
“I told traders while addressing them before the market re-opened today (Monday), that the market’s security guards will lock up any shop that the owner or customer is found without a face mask, or anyone not adhering to the physical distancing rule.
“Any market security that fails to enforce this directive will be sacked immediately.
“My executives and I will go round the market daily to ensure this directive is enforced, no matter who is involved,” Ozioko said.