By CHUKS EKE
The Legal Adviser to Anambra State Market Amalgamated Traders Association (ASMATA), Humphrey Udechukwu Esq. has lauded Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State for his timely intervention in re-opening the markets in the state, barely a month after the COVID-19 lockdown.
He also commended Obiano for devising various forms of stimulus packages and palliatives to cushion the effect of the Corona virus pandemic on the people of the state..
Speaking to newsmen at his law chamber in Onitsha, Udechukwu described Obiano as a working governor and an astute administrator who understands the feelings of his people and knows that Anambra is a commercial state, adding that his leadership acumen has not only placed Anambra in a vantaged position, but also set the pace in the fight against the spread of the pandemic and at the same time cushioning the hunger effect on the masses.
According to the legal adviser, “Anambra as a commercial state has not less than 63 major markets where majority of the residents are traders. No other state can boast of such concentration of markets. His Excellency saw that continuing to shut the markets because of a virus which no one knows when it will stop may trigger off brew agitation since a hungry man is an angry man”.
“Obiano convened a meeting of all market leaders where he told them of the need to adapt and seek for solutions. But he tasked them to establish Covid 19 taskforce that will enforce personal preventive measures like wearing of face masks, hand washing and social distancing in the markets”.
“Since after the re-opening of the markets, I have personally visited various markets in the state, both fenced and unfenced ones and observed that the taskforce are doing their best to enforce the preventive measures with sanctions for defaulters both among traders and buyers”, said Udechukwu.
“Last year, 80 percent of the stallage fees paid by the traders were committed to assisting the Ochanja market fire victims and this year, after reopening of markets, the governor also promised to allow one month grace to traders not to pay any market revenue to the state government as part of the measures to cushion the effect of the lockdown”.
He further commended Governor Obiano for lifting ban on church services describing him as a religious governor who understands that God and prayers are also needed to help scientists find a vaccine or cure for Corona virus.
The legal luminary said that the Covid 19 pandemic although very real had been politicized by many governments but thanked Obiano for the distribution of 600 bags of rice to each of the 181 communities in Anambra for the vulnerable aged and youths.
Similarly, Udechukwu commended Anglican Bishop on the Niger, Rt. Rev. Dr. Owen Nwokolo and the Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev. Dr. Valerian Okeke, for distributing food items and cash worth millions of naira as palliatives to the indigents from and outside denominational affiliations.
“I thank especially the Bishops who have demonstrated that church is not only about receiving but also giving out. I also thank philanthropists like Chief Charles Odunukwe, Sir Ukeji of Ejison Group, Chief Ogonna Olisa and others from my town, Oraukwu community who vowed that hunger virus will not kill people during the lockdown”, said Udechukwu.
Udechukwu frowned at the manner with which many people from various states have been flouting the inter-state border lockdown thereby smuggling in people hiding inside lorries transporting livestock and other food items, saying that both some security agents and some elder statesmen have refused to vehemently stand against such a misdemeanor..