By Adibe Emenyonu
The Edo State Government has ordered the immediate shutdown of Lagos Street, an epicentre where non-indigenes ply their trade and commerce in Benin City metropolis, to check the spread of Coronavirus in the state.
The shutdown as gathered was as a result of the refusal of the traders to participate in the state ongoing testing exercise to halt the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
This was confirmed in a statement by the Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie.
According to the statement, the decision to shut down trading activities on Lagos Street followed the refusal of residents to comply with the state government’s directives to participate in the ongoing screening and testing exercise for COVID-19, as part of efforts to contain the pandemic.
He said, “The Edo State Government has ordered the immediate shut down of all form of activities including trading on Lagos Street, a business hub in Benin City, over refusal of the residents to participate in ongoing screening and testing exercise to halt the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Osagie said Lagos Street will remain closed to activities until residents in the area take part in the exercise to protect themselves and other members of the public, noting, “The participation of all residents in the exercise is important in curtailing the spread of the virus in the state.
“Being a business hub, a large number of residents in Benin City and other parts of the state visit Lagos Street daily for various activities making the area a hotspot for the spread of COVID-19.
This makes it important for residents and other persons in the area to participate in the exercise. Lagos Street will remain closed to all form of activities until the residents participate in the screening and testing exercise.”
Meanwhile, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN Edo State chapter yesterday demanded the reopening of churches in the state with full compliance to the extant guidelines.
Reopening of churches, according to PFN would assist government efforts in a number of ways.
In a communique issued at the end of Executive Committee meeting of the Edo State chapter, the PFN said the pulpit would increase awareness of Covid-19 and embark on aggressive intercession for divine intervention to terminate the evil plague that has defied human solution.
“PFN is not unaware of the efforts of the state Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and the efforts of churches to be closed for two weeks to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Nigeria and in Edo State, the markets are allowed to run, and the populace is also allowed to move about to a reasonable extent which is commendable.
“PFN therefore demands that churches should be allowed to be reopened with full compliance to the extant guidelines,” said the communique.
The communique jointly signed by the PFN chairman, Bishop Mon Igbonisa and the Secretary, Reverend Solomon Udi objected to the unwholesome harassment of pastors and members who opened their churches based on pronouncement of Governor Godwin Obaseki.
PFN then demanded the cessation of unlawful harassment of the church in Edo State.