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ASMATA adviser lauds Obiano for opening markets, palliative packages

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LEGAL adviser to the Anambra State Market Amalgamated Traders Association (ASMATA), Humphrey Udechukwu has lauded Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State for opening of markets and for employing various forms of stimulus palliative packages to cushion the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on Ndi Anambra.

  Speaking to newsmen at 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.

  He said that Anambra government had been proactive, setting the pace in the fight to curb the spread of the pandemic and cushioning of the hunger effect on the masses.

  “Anambra as a commercial state has not lesser 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 one does not know when it will stop may brew agitation.

  “He called a meeting involving all market leaders telling 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 facemasks, hand washing and social distancing in the markets.

  “Although we have fenced and unfenced markets, but I have visited various markets and observed that the taskforce are doing their best to enforce the preventive measures with sanctions for defaulters both among traders and buyers.

  “Last year, 80 per cent of the stallage fee was committed to assisting the Ochanja Market fire victims. This year, the governor also promised to allow one  month gap after reopening of markets before collection of revenue to cushion the effect of the lockdown”.

  Moreover, he 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 coronavirus.

  The legal luminary said that the COVID-19 pandemic, although very real had been politicised 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, the Metropolitan Catholic Bishop of Onitsha Archdiocese, Most Rev. Fr. 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, Chief Ogonna Olisa and others from my town, Oraukwu, who vowed that hunger virus will not kill people during the lockdown”, said Udechukwu.

  Meanwhile, Udechukwu frowned at the way many people from various states have been flouting the interstate border lockdown thereby smuggling in people hiding in lorries transporting livestock and other food items, saying that both some security agents and some elder statesmen have refused to vehemently stand against the misdemeanor.

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