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Mandilas trade centre leads in market safety standards—President

*Hereunder published is a lecture delivered by Chief Anthony Okeke, Executive President MITC, on July 16, 2021, in Lagos.

The Role of Market Leaders In Providing Safety in the Market Places in this Covid 19 Pandemic era. A case study of Mandilas International Trade Centre (MITC), Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, Ojo Lagos State.
Presented by Chief Anthony Okeke, Executive President MITC, on July 16, 2021.

The chairman,
Members of the high table,
Special invitees,
Members of the Press,
The organisers,
I humbly greet you all.

Permit me to say that this lecture topic is apt and timely considering the continued ravaging effects of Covid 19 across the globe.
However, to carry everyone along which had been my lecture method, let me first of all define some key words in this presentation.

1, Role

2, Market Leaders

3, Safety

4 Security

5, Providing Safety

6, Market Places

7, Covid 19 Pandemic

8, A case study

9, Mandilas International Trade Centre

10, Lagos International Trade Fair complex

1, Role:
Role in simple term, means function and or part to be played by someone in achieving results.

2, Market Leaders:
Market leaders are mainly elected controllers of affairs at markets. In most cases, especially in Mandilas, our leaders are elected for a given term of office called tenure.
Market Leaders are also known as market executives.

3, Safety:
Safety can simply mean a state of being protected from a potential harm.
Measures taken to preserve lives and properties.
Keeping yourself and others free from harm and danger.
Safety is all encompassing.
Anything done to prevent risk or harm to lives and properties.

4, Security:
Security simply means safety, as well as the measures taken to be safe or protected.

5, Providing Safety: Providing anything means making available that thing. Talking about safety, providing it in a market place means the sum total of all structured efforts put together to maintain adequate safety of lives and property.

6, Market Places: Market places are environments where business of buying and selling takes place.

7, Covid 19 Pandemic::
globally, this is a popular clause in about more than one year now.
It is the general name given to the current global health challenge hitting the whole world including Nigeria.

8, A case study: a case study simply means discussing something from the perspective of a particular setting for easy understanding by listeners’.

9,Mandilas International Trade Centre: MITC:
This is a leading market place in Lagos and Nigeria in general known for fashion wares and accessories. Such as ladies hand bags, shoes , jeans and shirts, suits, gowns, undies, wrist watches etc, It is located at the Lagos International Trade Fair complex.

10, Lagos International Trade Fair complex:
This is arguably the largest trading complex in Africa, housing not less than 61 Market unions specialising in different products and services delivery.
Eg, BBA – Balogun Business Association, Aspamda, Auto spare parts dealers, APT, Jewelry dealers, Mandilas International trade center, (MITC), Hard ware and Tools, Tire village, Callpark venture etc.
It is located along Lagos-Badagry Expressway.

The Lecture:

But for the advent of Covid 19 pandemic, many organisations have been taking issues of safety for granted. However, Covid 19 placed every leader especially markets on their toes since 2020 to date.
Many health experts believe that the new strain of coronavirus likely originated in bats or pangolins. The first transmission to humans was in Wuhan, China. Since then, the virus has mostly spread through person-to-person contact.
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause disease in both animals and humans. The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus strain known as SARS-CoV is an example of a coronavirus. SARS spread rapidly in 2002–2003.

The new strain of coronavirus is called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus causes coronavirus disease . (COVID-19).
Here in Nigeria, according to the NCDC, over 80 per cent of victims recovered, but that is not enough for safety recklessness.
The new coronavirus has spread rapidly in many parts of the world. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) Trusted Source declared COVID-19 a pandemic. A pandemic occurs when a disease that people are not immune to spreads across large regions.

The first confirmed case in Nigeria was announced on 27 February 2020, when an Italian citizen in Lagos tested positive for the virus. On 9 March 2020, a second case of the virus was reported in Ewekoro, Ogun State, a Nigerian citizen who had contact with the Italian citizen.

On 28 January, the Federal government of Nigeria assured citizens of the country of its readiness to strengthen surveillance at five international airports in the country to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The government announced the airports as Enugu, Lagos, Rivers, Kano and the FCT. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control also announced same day that they had already set up coronavirus group and was ready to activate its incident system if any case emerged in Nigeria.

On 31 January, following the developments of COVID-19 pandemic in mainland China and other countries worldwide, the federal government of Nigeria set up a Coronavirus Preparedness Group to mitigate the impact of the virus if it eventually spreads to the country. On the same day, the World Health Organization listed Nigeria among other 13 African countries identified as high-risk for the spread of the virus.

Up till now the whole world is on red alert over the covid 19 pandemic.
So far about four million (4,000,000) deaths have recorded worldwide.
And in Nigeria about 2119 deaths have been recorded so far.
As a result of the devastating effect of the covid 19 pandemic, it became imperative that every organisation takes safety and security measures during and after the pandemic, taking Mandilas International trade center as a case study.

At MITC, our leadership developed a safety architecture that did not only cater for Covid 19, but for all other market safety concerns including fire incidences.
Currently, there are fire muster points at strategic places within the market and all the fire and emergency committee are being trained and retrained on the demands of fire management from time to time.

On Covid 19 safety measures, MITC has a structured safety standard for the market beginning from all the entrances. At all entry point, there is Covid 19 safety notice and tips. There is also wash hand buckets and sanitisers with instructions for every incoming person to partake for the safety of all.
It is important to mention that our administration set up Covid 19 Taskforce which is directly supervised by the office of the president. Aside wash hand systems, face mask remains a must if you must enter MITC at all times.
More than 5000 units of nose mask were provided free to members of the complex.
However to make it easy for people, we encouraged sellers of face mask to always stay at all our entry points for easy access to customers’ and even members who forgot their face mask at home or vehicles while coming.
The provision of pipe born water for adequate hygiene for safety.
We are also making sure that lights are switched off after the business of the day are parts of our safety measures.
Making sure that everyone maintains the opening time and closing time in the complex to ensure that nobody is left behind at the risk of our goods and properties.
No combustive appliance, eg gas cookers, stoves, firewood etc is allowed in the complex except in a designated area.

At Mandilas ITC, we made sure that there is no indiscriminate toilets or open defecation in the complex.
A central toilet building housing enough units of toilets was constructed to forestall health hazard.
We enforce the clearing of all the exits ways and passages of all obstacles for easy movement in case of emergency.
We also make sure that all electrical wires and fittings are SON certified and only the services of a qualified electrician is engaged.
This is to ensure the safety of lives and properties..

MITC is one of the markets at Lagos Trade Fair complex that is known for safe distance keeping while doing business, and the administration have continued to educate members and customers on the importance from time to time.
It is important to mention that safety of lives and properties is everybody’s business and as such, we at MITC have a culture of routine talks and Health Week where free medical test and drug are given to both members and customers periodically.
Security alert is always raised whenever a strange face is found roaming about in the complex.

Above all Mandilas International trade center is one of, if not the only market in Lagos State that uses CCTV cameras to monitor every nook and corner of the market.
In spite of these security and safety measures being taken in Mandilas International trade center, I will like to state some areas of constraints and or where we would like the government to come to our aid.

As it is already said, safety is everybody’s business.
The roads to some market places most especially that leads to the Lagos International Tradefair complex, ie the Lagos – badagry and seme road, has become a security threat to both the traders and general public.
There’s no gain saying that many lives and properties are lost on daily basis on that road.
Im apealling on behalf of the traders to the government concerned to intervene as a matter of urgency to safeguard lives and properties put at risk .
Again, I wish to also say that the Lagos International Tradefair complex is not being adequately protectb from the menence of fire outbreak, in that there is no single fire fighting station by the appropriate government authority in a complex that harbours more than 61 different groups of markets, except for the individual efforts made by markets like MITC.
That is to say that our markets are no safe or to say the list adequately secured.
Thirdly, you may all agree with me that communication is very vital when it comes to the business of security and safety.
It may interest us to note that the entire network in most markets most especially Lagos International Tradefair complex is nothing to write home about.
In case there any danger that needs the attention of the relevant authority , the situation would be helpless thereby putting lives and properties at risk.
If you ask me I will say that network was compromised.
I again appeal to the relevant government agency to take note.

Finally if safety means measures taken to preserve lives and properties then the fact that there is no single government hospital in a complex that is arguably the largest in Africa needs to be brought to our attention.
Before I conclude, let me commend the Lagos State government to the way and manner it has been handling security and safety of lives and properties in the state.
We remember vividly all the proactive steps that were taken in fighting covid 19.
I must also commend the inauguration of a market advisory board by the Lagos State government.
This goes a long way to show that they take the lives and properties of the traders very serious.
It’s my pleasure to thank all of you for listening.
God bless Nigeria.