By Felix Khanoba
The Federal Government has called for compulsory use of face masks and sanitizers in marketplaces in the country to guard against the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, said wearing face masks and use of hand sanitizers by both buyers and sellers of essential goods is part of the ‘Market Protocol’ put in place by the government to tackle the pandemic.
Adebayo, who stated this at the weekly briefing of the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) of the Committee on Sustainable Production/Delivery of Essential Commodities During COVID-19 in Abuja, called on Nigerians to adhere to the protocol’.
“I need to stress that, while there is an undeniable need for markets to be open in some days for people to restock household supplies, it is most important for the set protocol during the process to be complied with to the letter.
“The use of face masks and had sanitizers on market days are non-negotiable to limit the spread of the virus until the scourge blows over,” the Minister said.
Speaking further, Adebayo said the Federal Government will soon partner with producers of sanitizers in the country to ensure mass production of the products.
He said the move, which would see to the provision of enabling environment for free flow of raw materials for the production of sanitizers, will ensure sanitizers are available to Nigerians at a more affordable price.
The Minister revealed that the Ministry has already arranged a teleconference with almost all producers of sanitizers in the country to find a way of ensuring that they don’t find it difficult in getting vital materials in the production of sanitizers.
On the challenges being faced by some farmers as a result of the lockdown put in place by the government to curtail the pandemic, Adebayo called on security operatives to allow farmers access to their farms to ensure food sufficiency during COVID-19.
He, however, called on farmers to wear their face masks as well as adhere to other preventive measures put in place by relevant authorities.
His words : “This synergy between our law enforcement agencies, our essential goods manufacturers and the producers and the Ministry, has allowed us to be able to meet critical demands at this time. I wish to also add that, while on duty, our law enforcement agencies must do well to allow farmers access to their farms for necessary farm activities like fertilizing and harvest in order to ensure food sufficiency during COVID-19 and beyond. The farmers must, however, wear their face masks as well as observe other preventive measures before they are let through.”