George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
The residents of Owerri, the Imo state capital have lamented the indefinite closure of all major markets and petty neighbourhood provision stores in the state saying that the situation has become unbearable.
Also, in spite of the order by the governor that all motor parks in the state be shut, commercial bus and cab drivers carried on with their business of conveying commuters to their various destinations within and outside the state capital.
Mrs. Nkechi Onwuliri a resident of Royce road in Owerri metropolis said that it was wrong for the government to have indefinitely shut all outlets where the people could at least buy their needs.
According to her, “it is wrong for the state governor to close down all the major markets where people could buy foodstuffs for their families. To even make the matter worse, all the neighbourhood petty provision stores where the people could buy what they want were also closed by the security agents who have been going from street to street to make sure that no store was open. Now, what does the government want them to do?
She added that “the problem we have now is hunger and not the coronavirus and the government did not provide food for anyone like it is being done in Lagos.”
Also, Damian a civil servant and a resident of Ihugba Street in Owerri metropolis wondered how the state governor would ask civil servants to stay at home without salaries and because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We were told by the governor to remain at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Now, as a civil servant, we are remaining at home without salaries and the markets are also shut. Now, I as I speak I have not received my salary, so how do I feed my family? Is it when there is no salary and the markets are closed?
He further lamented that “even getting money from the bank there is still a big problem as there are too many people who are trying to collect their money because most of ATM machines are not dispensing cash.”
Meanwhile, security agents including the army, police and DSS have been impounding commercial vehicles as well as private cars for allegedly flouting the stay-at-home order by the state governor, Hope Uzodinma.
Earlier in the morning, the security agents blocked major roads in the state capital of Owerri with their patrol vehicles.
However, it was gathered that some of the commercial drivers were later allowed to go after paying the sum of N500 to the security agents.
One of the commercial bus drivers who identified himself as Ikem said that his bus was initially impounded by the soldiers along Owerri-Port Harcourt road, but he was only allowed to go after paying N500.