The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammed Bello has approved the extension of business hours for Markets in Abuja to operate from 8a.m. to 3p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Bello in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja, explained that the directive which takes effect from Saturday, April 25, was against the earlier approved time of 10a.m. to 2p.m.
The minister also directed the decongestion of the existing markets through the establishment of Neighborhood Selling Points in the various Districts within the Federal Capital City by Abuja Markets Management Ltd.
Bello, therefore, urged FCT residents to support the intent of the lockdown by patronising markets in their neighbourhoods.
The minister ordered the law enforcement Agencies to clamp down on residents who hide under the window of market days to flout Government directives.
Bello also urged Abuja Markets Management Ltd to liaise with the FCT Area Councils to ensure full implementation of all COVID-19 Pandemic protocols with regards to the markets across all the nooks and crannies of Abuja.
He explained that the concept of Neighbourhood Selling Points was aimed at taking pressure off the existing markets in the FCT through the provision of an initial 40 units -adopting either public schools or green areas where they exist- across the various districts in the city.
” This will further enhance the attainment of social distancing among residents which is a key requirement for eventual winning of the battle against the dreaded virus.”
The Minister further directed relevant FCTA Secretariats, Departments and Agencies to support Abuja markets management to actualise the mandate with a view to ensure quick set up of the selling point.
Bello insisted that all users of markets in the FCT must use face mask and also observe social distancing.
He mandated the Managing Director, Abuja markets management, Abubakar Faruk to ensure that existing selling points for food items within the markets are decentralised immediately to achieve social distancing.
The minister, however, encouraged the markets managers to continue to sensitise the markets users on other hand and respiratory hygiene.