Traders reject fresh lockdown, task government on speedy testing for coronavirus
Some traders at the Balogun Lagos Trade Fair Complex market on Monday expressed misgivings on the planned fresh lockdown by the Lagos State government to check the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
The traders, who expressed relief for the subsisting three days a week trading period instead of total lockdown that was the situation some weeks ago, urged the government to speed-up testing capacity to capture infected persons.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos reports that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had on Sunday threatened a fresh lockdown if people continued to flout the safety guidelines on ease of movement to control the rising number of infected persons.
The President of the market, Balogun Business Association (BBA), Mr Tony Obih said that the easing of the lockdown that created room for traders to sell their wares helped to reduce the rising cases of robbery in the state.
“Many of those involved in the rising cases of criminality such as the Million Boys, the inglorious gang that allegedly tormented residents were engaged in one economic trade or the other to earn a living.
“In as much we compel traders and customers to comply with the safety guidelines in the market environment which they adhered to, there is no reason for a fresh lockdown.
“We cannot be solving one problem and at the same time creating another. There is need for us to weigh the options and strike a balance that will have human face.
“The law enforcement agents are state officials they should endeavour to ensure people comply with the directives in public transportation and other areas as regards social distancing and save the society from further crisis,” he said.
Speaking on the planned fresh lockdown, Mr Chikwem Obasi, a beauty care importer, who doubled as patron of the market, said intensifying testing capacity was key.
Obasi, who said that most of his wares got damaged during the lockdown as a result of heat, noted that a fresh lockdown would further harm traders that were already counting losses from the previous five weeks’ restriction.
He appealed to government to increase testing capacity and curtail the rising cases, saying a fresh lockdown would have a negative social impact like the previous one that spurred armed robbery and burglary in the state.
He said that the criminal acts and vices that were rife in the state during the lockdown stopped immediately the restriction order was eased to give room to partial movement and trading.
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