Sunday, March 3, 2024

COVID-19: Tears flow as Ekiti Task Force burns goods, brutalises traders

Tears flowed freely on Sunday as the Task Force raised by the Ekiti State Government to enforce directives banning trading in the state destroyed and burnt goods of traders that defied the Government’s order.

Governor Kayode Fayemi had directed markets and stores not trading in essentials to shut down while policemen and other relevant agencies were charged to enforce the directives as part of efforts to curtail the spread of coronavirus pandemic.

It was gathered that the team comprised of top government officials, Ekiti State Peace Corps, Nigeria Police and NSCDC.

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It was learnt that the enforcement team-led by the Chairman Ekiti State Traffic Management Agency, Olufemi Olarewaju, raided the area to enforce government’s order, violently destroying food item and burning kiosks of some of the traders.

They allegedly attacked some traders who made attempts to salvage their goods and confiscated food items, including rice, meat, tomatoes, vegetables, garri and other food items.

Some of the affected traders, who wept profusely expressed displeasure with the task force’s action, described the action as uncalled for, saying they were among those exempted from the ban.

They lamented the action was highest degree wickedness on the part of government taskforce to set their property in the market ablaze.

Mr George Daniel and Mrs Kemi Ojo said some of their goods were also looted away, while others were destroyed by the officers, saying that they came to the market to make some sales in order to feed their families.

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The distraught traders, however, called on Governor Fayemi to as a matter of urgency intervene and caution the task force before they tarnish his government.

When contacted, Olanrewaju denied the allegation that goods were burnt, saying members of the joint taskforce in the state only set ablaze kiosks used for displaying their goods on the road.

He noted that the traders have been warned several times to vacate the market to maintain social distancing in order to check the spread of COVID-19 but they resisted.

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