Nigeria

Coronavirus: Police Brutalise, Teargas Traders, Buyers During Enforcement Of Market Closure In Osun

In trying to enforce the closure of markets as ordered by Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State, the police brutalised and fired teargas canisters at traders and buyers at Ifon Market on Wednesday morning. 

The governor had on Tuesday ordered the closure of all weekly markets in the state to curb the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The government stated that only daily markets would be allowed to operate because they attracted small number of persons at a time.

However, in enforcing the order, the police in Osun embarked on extra-judicial activities by harassing and brutalising buyers and sellers at Ifon Market.

Some buyers caught in the melee, explained to our correspondent that they went to purchase food items but were attacked by policemen.

“Police officers stormed the market in large numbers and teargassed everyone both young and old.

“The market was filled with people from all over the state, we had to rush out of the place to escape beating from the police,” one witness said. 

Another resident explained that her husband had to hurriedly go in search for money after the pronouncement by the governor so that they could stock some food items in the house.

She said, “What would people eat during the period of staying at home if they couldn't get food?

“Why should people be dispersed with teargas while trying to get items to be used for a long time during the course of this epidemic?” a woman queried.

The residents urged the state government to revisit the order and give people the opportunity to stock their houses with food items before closing all markets.

“Yesterday's act was not needed at this point where people live from hand to mouth. 

"I strongly call on the appropriate authorities to look into this and check on those who might have been injured during the ruthless act by police officers,” one of the affected residents of the state said.

While speaking, another resident of Osun said, “Government and prominent people in the state should also help by providing materials and items which will help to alleviate suffering at this hard time."