El Rufai warns traders over neighbourhood markets
Governor Nasir El Rufai has warned that government will not allow any trader to sabotage the efforts to keep safe from the growing danger of Covid-19 infection. He said that no trader should put his narrow and selfish above the need to save lives, explaining that the proposed temporary neighbourhoods markets must be allowed to work.
In a live media chat with some broadcast journalists at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House on Tuesday night, the governor vowed that any trader who is thinking of daring the government drop the idea.
The governor reminded that all markets belong to the government as they are not anyone’s inheritance, adding that ‘’government can decide to close them if there are compelling reasons to do so.’’
El Rufai said that reports have been making the rounds that some people want to frustrate the new directive of opening neighborhood markets on Saturdays to avoid large gatherings in regular markets.
The governor stated that the government will invoke the law on anyone who tries to embark on such protests, adding that ‘’traders are tenants in the market which belongs to the government. More so, the land on which they are built belongs to government.’’
‘’Anyone who tries to foment trouble in Kaduna state, whoever he or she is, and whatever his or her status, we will deal with the person,’’ he warned.
El Rufai said that government is open to advice on how this new system can work but it will not spare people who want to sabotage it.
Governor El Rufai said that health officials and officials of Kaduna Markets Development Company will be at those neighborhood markets to ensure social distancing and that large crowds do not congregate at any place.
According to him, contact tracing will be easier when someone is infected with the virus if he patronizes neighborhood markets, than if the person had gone to the central market.
El Rufai also asked traders to desist from hiking the prices of the goods and cashing in on the present situation which has been brought about by COVID-19.
The governor pointed out that the law permits government to prosecute traders who sell their goods at prices that are way beyond reasonable limits.
‘’This is a time to show empathy, not just because of the our current situation but because of the Holy month of Ramadhan, where people should be scrambling to get Allah’s blessings by increased acts of worship and showing love to fellow human beings,’’ he pointed out.
El Rufai enjoins traders to reflect on Allah’s injunction that whatever act of worship or assistance extended to fellow beings in the this month of Ramadhan will be rewarded several folds.
The governor said that people are experiencing hardship on two fronts, especially lack of financial resources and the lockdown as a result of coronavirus pandemic, arguing that this is the time for traders to even lower prices of food stuff.