The various market associations in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja on Friday met with the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, and pledged their support for the efforts of the administration in containing the spread of COVID-19 in the Territory.
They made the pledge when a delegation from the Committee of Chairmen and Secretaries of the various market associations in the FCT paid a courtesy visit to the FCTA.
In his remarks, the chairman of the Committee, Mr. Raphael Okechukwu Okorie, who is also the Chairman of the Wuse Market Traders Association, said that the Committee was in the FCTA to show appreciation to the FCT Minister for the way he was successfully managing the pandemic in the FCT.
In the words of Mr. Okorie, “We are here to appreciate the Minister for all he has done to see that Abuja has not turned to a disaster zone. We are here to say that we are solidly behind all the decisions, policies, and programmes that the Minister has implemented to keep FCT residents safe and also well-fed with the palliatives distribution that is ongoing”.
Speaking on the implementation of the lockdown, Mr. Okorie said: “the lockdown is the safest thing that will happen to the FCT to ensure the safety of lives during the pandemic.”
He, however, said that the Association will like to see an easing of the lockdown, especially on market operational days.
The market associations, he said, would like the markets to open 3 times a week and also allow for the selling of other commodities besides food items which is currently in effect.
The Honourable Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello in his response thanked the market associations for making economic activities in the FCT very vibrant and their support for the FCTA in the fight against COVID-19.
Malam Bello said that the FCT Administration had taken note of the requests from the Market Associations and will present them during its weekly COVID-19 review meetings for further discussions.
He, however, reminded the leaders of the various market associations that despite increasing the number of business hours from 8:00 am to 3:00pm, from the initial 10:00 am to 2:00pm, the activities at the markets still left a lot to be desired in terms of social distancing.
He also called for the continuous cooperation of traders and market association in the FCT in the fight against COVID-19 while praying that God will guide all to do the right things.
Also present at the meeting were the Permanent Secretary, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, the Chief of Staff to the Minister, Malam Bashir Mai-Borno, and other senior staff of the FCT Administration.