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One Week Into The 2-week Shutdown, Eke Awka Market Gradually Re-opening

By Izunna Okafor
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After one week into the two-week shutdown order placed on Eke Awka Market, by Anambra State Government; some parts of the market are gradually re-opening, while daily business transactions are gradually returning and furtively taking place at the various corners of the market, despite the shutdown order.

This was observed on Monday when our reporter embarked on a situation report tour round the market, to ascertain the level of compliance to the order, after one week of its commencement.

Touring round the market, it was observed that despite the presence of some security agencies' vehicles strategically parked at the market, with some officers cooling off therein; some shop owners defy the government's shutdown order, and stealthily open their shops to attend to customers, who also transact surreptitiously with them.

This act was mostly observed at the popular Ezenwa Plaza where some shop owners or their agents smartly position at the entrance of the Plaza and deceitfully romance their phones on their ears in disguise that they are making calls, while they are actually waiting for customers to be ushered in to their shops.

Some phone shops, foam shops, electronic shops, cloth sellers, and other services providers along Dike Park were also in operation, as people proudly and undisturbedly transact there too.

Also, some other shops along (both left and right) the popular Zik Avenue axis of the market were close outside but open inside.

From Eke Awka Roundabout down to Gbalimgba branch of the market, along which mostly building materials and household logistics are sold; the situation was not different, as people were seen buying and selling there.

On adherence to the COVID-19 protocols which was the major reason government temporarily shutdown the market; it was also observed that while some people put on their facemasks properly, some wrapped theirs beneath their jaws, while some did not wear, let alone not wearing it properly, despite the number of people hawking the mask and handkerchief round the market.

Furthermore, it was observed that the excessive thronging and snarl-up, which the market was hitherto known for, were comparably eased, looking hind to what it used to be, as the number of the people going to the market has drastically reduced.

These notwithstanding, it is worthy to mention that the entrances to the Eke Awka Main Market itself currently remain padlock and chained up, as they were in the day one of the enforcement.

It now behoves the government and the law enforcement agencies to beef up actions to ensure total compliance to the shutdown directive, by paying special attention to the roadside shop owners who undoubtedly are leveraging the location of their shops amidst the shutdown, thereby defying government's order of total shutdown.

It would be recalled that Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, through a statement signed by the State Secretary General, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, ordered a total shutdown of Eke Awka Market for two weeks (15th to 29th June) over noncompliance to the COVID-19 safety protocols by the traders, despite government's warning and advice while re-opening the market and other 63 major markets in the state (on May 4th) which were earlier shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Eke Awka Market which is strategically situated at the centre of the Zik Avenue, is the central and largest market in the Awka Metropolis, Anambra State Capital.