The Nation reports that there was palpable fear in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital on Thursday as armed policemen stormed and dispersed traders and buyers who thronged some major markets against the directive of the state government.
The policemen, who stormed the markets around 10: 30am in six police pick-up vans and an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), were civil in their words and actions with the traders and residents who came to the markets in effecting their closure.
The policemen were at Bisi Market and Oja Oba both in Ado Ekiti and Shasha Market in Ikere Ekiti to stop buying and selling already going on there.
Trading activities were stopped at the two large markets in the state capital as traders and residents filled them to the capacity without observing the rule of social and physical distancing.
Besides, the outpouring of residents who were utilising the one-day window of opportunity to restock food and other necessities caused a huge traffic snarl by displaying their wares on the road.
The Nation learnt that traders had arrived the markets from different of the state as early as 5.00 am to transact businesses.
The Commander of Mobile Police (MOPOL 33), ACP Samuel Erhale, who led the policemen to Oja Oba and Bisi Market at about 10.30am gave the traders thirty minutes to pack their wares and leave for neighbourhood markets immediately.
Social and physical distancing were observed at Shasha Market in Ikere Ekiti but Erhale insisted that holding the market violated government’s directive.
After holding consultations with the Sarkin Shasha, Erhale who is also the Assistant Commissioner in charge of Operations. (AC-OPS) of the state police command, ordered all traders and their customers to evacuate their goods and leave.
Erhale said the crowded scenes at the markets could lead to further spread of the Coronavirus in the state which, according to him, are injurious to public health.
He advised them to take their wares to the available neighbourhood markets as directed by the government.
The police chief further stressed the need for traders and buyers to observe physical and social distancing in line with the advisory of the state government.
He insisted that the instruction of the state government was that Oja Oba and Bisi Market should not be opened for business, hence, the enforcement of the order to close them.
They waited until the traders evacuated their goods from the two markets in Ado Ekiti before heading to the market in Ikere to enforce the same order.
The markets became a ghost town after the thirty minutes given to traders to leave had lapsed.