THE Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has directed that markets in the territory would henceforth be opening only on Wednesdays and Saturdays after residents defied the lockdown order to contain the spread of Covid-19.
This was part of the outcome of a security meeting chaired by Muhammad Bello, FCT Minister to review the effects and level of compliance of the cessation of movement in the FCT as part of measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.
A statement issued at the end of the meeting by Anthony Ogunleye, Chief Press Secretary to the FCT Minister lamented the low level of compliance with the lockdown order across the satellite towns located at the various area councils where residents have largely ignored the lockdown directive.
The statement added that adherence to the lockdown directive at the city center has also deteriorated over the past few days.
“Residents have used the excuse of going to the markets to flout the lockdown directives and traders selling non-essential food commodities have also used this window to open their shops in clear violation of the directives not to do so,” it said.
“Despite the directives that residents should patronise neighborhood shops and markets within their districts and not move from one district to the other to buy their essential items in order to minimize movement of people and vehicles across the city, this has largely been flouted as well.”
However, Ogunleye said in the statement that the FCT Administration has issued new guidelines in order to ensure that Abuja does not witness an escalation in the number of Covid-19 positive cases and prevent a public health emergency.
Besides opening markets in the territory twice in a week, residents are now allowed to patronise only neighborhood markets, noting that movement from one district to the other now constitutes a violation of the lockdown.
He added that Mobile courts will now be activated to try all violators of the directive on the cessation of movement across the FCT while motorcycles (Okada) are henceforth barred from operating anywhere in Kubwa and Dutse Alhaji during the lockdown.
“The FCTA will step up sensitization efforts especially in the rural communities and enjoins Area Council, Chairmen, traditional rulers and community leaders to actively engage in sensitizing the populace on the dangers of Covid -19,” Ogunleye said.
Abuja has recorded 58 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and is second behind Lagos State that has 214 confirmed cases.
The ICIR had reported how hunger, indiscipline and ignorance were defeating the lockdown order in Abuja.