By Daniel Tyokua
The minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has directed managers of all markets in the territory to make use of face mask compulsory.
He said the decision was part of measures to ensure compliance with social distancing protocol in Abuja markets and help stop the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
The minister also asked the Abuja Market Management Limited (AMML) to create 40 Neighbourhood Selling Points in the various districts within the Federal Capital City in a bid to decongest the existing markets.
Managing Director of the AMML, Abubakar Usman Faruk, on Friday, said the minister also approved the extension of business hours for markets in the FCT to now run from 8am to 3 pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
He said the directive takes effect from Saturday April 25, 2020, against the earlier approved time of 10 am to 2pm.
“Even ahead of the take-off of the neighbourhood Selling Points, the minister insisted that all users of markets in the FCT must use face mask and also observe social distancing.
“He mandated the Managing Director, Abuja Markets Management Limited, to ensure that existing selling points for food items within the markets are decentralized immediately to achieve social distancing, even as he encouraged the markets managers to continue to sensitize the markets users on other hand and respiratory hygiene,” he said.
Farouk called on the FCT residents to support the intent of the lockdown by patronising markets in their neighbourhoods, “the minister ordered law enforcement agencies to clamp down on residents who use the pretext of going to the market to disobey government directives.
“The concept of neighbourhood Selling Points is aimed at taking pressure off the existing markets in the city through the provision of an initial 40 units -adopting either public schools or green areas where they exist- across the various districts in the FCC .
“This will further enhance the attainment of social distancing among residents which is a key requirement for eventual winning of the battle against the dreaded virus,” the MD added.
The minister further directed relevant FCTA Secretariats, Departments and Agencies to support AMML to actualize this mandate.