Governor Nasir el-Rufai has urged traders not to hike the price of foodstuffs and to allow the temporary neighbourhood markets work.
He also warned that government will not allow any trader to sabotage its efforts to keep people safe from Covid-19 infection.
Speaking in a media chat with some broadcast journalists at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House on Tuesday night, the Governor warned that no trader should put his narrow and selfish interest above the need to save lives, while urging them to lower the price of foodstuffs during the Holy month of Ramadan to enjoy Allah’s reward for such sacrifice.
According to the Governor, “All markets belong to the government as they are not anyone’s inheritance. Government can decide to close them if there are compelling reasons to do so. 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.
“Government will invoke the law on anyone who tries to embark on such protests. Traders are tenants in the market which belongs to the government. 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.
Governor el-Rufai said that health officials and officials of Kaduna Markets Development Company would be at the neighborhood markets to ensure social distancing and that large crowds do not congregate at any place. He noted that government is open to advice on how this new system can work but it will not spare people who want to sabotage it.
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.
He 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 Ramadan, where people should be scrambling to get Allah’s blessings by increased acts of worship and showing love to fellow human beings,’’ he said.
El-Rufai enjoined traders to reflect on Allah’s injunction that whatever act of worship or assistance extended to fellow beings in this month of Ramadan will be rewarded several folds.
The governor said 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 foodstuffs.