It was organised by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, in conjunction with the National Mosquito Control Programme, a subsidiary of the Jospong Group.
The Central Regional Minister, Mr Kwamena Duncan, and a Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Kwasi Boateng Agyei, were present to monitor the exercise.
Agitations at Kasoa
However, unlike the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions where similar exercises took place without any incident, there were some agitations at the markets at Kasoa as traders and shoppers did not heed the announcement that they should stay away for the exercise.
Kasoa, in the Awutu Senya East Municipality, is one of the three areas announced by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to be affected by the movement restriction from today.
Having arrived early to set up, those traders were forced to leave their stalls to make way for the disinfection. Those who failed to comply were forcibly made to leave as their wares were seized.
Those traders lamented that they had expected the exercise to come off today as the municipality was part of the areas to be affected by the movement restriction for the next two weeks.
“We have only Saturday and Sunday to sell to buyers who want to stock up ahead of the restricted movement as announced by the President. Why would this disinfection exercise still go ahead when it could be done on Monday?,” Rafia Alhassan, a trader asked.
Shoppers, who were also at the market, were asked by the security operatives attached to the exercise to stay away.
The Daily Graphic observed that some few hours after the exercise, some of the traders returned to continue with brisk business unlike their colleagues in other markets, where the exercise had already taken place, who stayed away.
Stay away enforced
The Awutu Senya East Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Michael Mensah, said the traders were advised adequately to give some space for the disinfection exercise to be carried out.
He indicated that he personally met most of the traders last Saturday to explain the rationale for the exercise to them, but those traders still returned to sell in the markets when the spraying was ongoing.
“Most of the traders complied with our instructions to move out for the exercise to be done. Others proved difficult so we had to use other means by seizing some of the items they sold to force them to leave.
“ We don’t take delight in doing that but we were forced to do so in order to protect the larger population,” the MCE explained.
Regarding the restricted movement, Mr Mensah said it would be enforced and that 15 police checkpoints would be mounted at vantage places leading to Kasoa to check infiltration.
The exercise began at 6a.m. with the use of chlorine-based chemical to spray the markets.Police personnel, led by the Kasoa Divisional Police Commander, Mr Charles Ampem Koosono, were present to monitor the exercise. Providing support were members of the Awutu Senya East Municipal Assembly Taskforce.
After the exercise, which lasted for about three hours, Mr Agyei, who was also at the Nsawam event, told the Daily Graphic that he was impressed with the work done.
He said the whole exercise was aimed at ensuring that the markets were disinfected to protect people.
“ After the Ashanti Region, we needed to disinfect Kasoa and Nsawam because these are the gateways to Accra,” he said.
Mr Agyei said the government was committed to ensuring that the people were protected from the COVID-19 that was why it was doing all it could to ensure a safe environment.
“This exercise is supposed to improve the hygiene condition of the market. This is because we cannot say that we are locking down the Kasoa market and people would not go there to trade. People have to eat and if they have to go to the market they have to do that under hygienic conditions,” he said.
Mr Agyei said the disinfection exercise would be extended to markets in the other regions including the Eastern Region on April 4 and the rest of the Central Region on April 6.
Reacting to the concerns about the timing of the event as raised by some traders, the Central Regional Minister, Mr Duncan, said since prior notice was given by the municipal assembly ahead of the exercise and it was not changed, everyone should have complied as it was in the best interest of all Ghanaians.