Society

More Lagos residents say lockdown extension unavoidable bitter pill

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More Lagos residents are reacting  to the extension of the lockdown of the state by the Federal Government, with many describing it as a price to pay for survival.

The residents, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday, said that the extension was well-intended, but poor residents  would suffer, if not helped.

NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had in a national broadcast on Monday night announced extension of lockdown of Abuja,  Lagos and Ogun states for another 14 days in an effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

The president had earlier ordered lockdown of the states for an initial 14 days that started on March 30.

The extension began on Monday night.

A civil servant, Mr Bode Olofin, described the extension as the best option if Nigeria should get rid of coronavirus fast.

Olofin, however, noted that  the extension would hit hard on the masses especially artisans and other self-employed who  depended on daily income for survival.

“However, it a sacrifice everyone needs to make.

” People are being killed by the virus every day.

“Staying at home is a price we have  to  pay so that everything will go back to normal,” he said.

Olofin appealed to the Federal Government to ensure that its palliatives would get to the targetted people.

He added that the palliatives should get to a large number of households.

“Even if government adds additional five million households,  it won’t be enough,” he said.

A pharmacist,  Mr Wale Oduwole, told NAN that the extension was necessary but a difficult task for many Lagos residents.

“It is a bitter pill to swallow, necessary but difficult. It is more difficult  because the palliatives are not reaching out to many poor people.

“The  first part of the lockdown led to robbery and street begging,” he said.

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According to him, availability of palliatives would go a long way to cushion the harsh effects of the lockdown.

“The government has asked people to take responsibility and the people are doing just that; let the government also prove responsible to the citizens.

“Government efforts can be frustrated if the people are kept from their daily sources of living and nothing comes from the government to ease the situation.

“People can go out to fend for themselves against government’s  directive,” he said.

Oduwole also said that the lockdown should be extended to other states with the pandemic.

“I feel  movements should entirely be stopped in the whole country to prevent states with no record of the virus from recording cases,” he said.

Oduwole applauded some individuals  churches, mosques and other organisations  that made donations toward the fight against COVID-19  as well as those that distributed palliatives to the poor around them.

A businessman,  Mr Leke Adedoyin, told NAN  that the extension  was needed to prevent the spread of the virus.

“It is needed, it is expected, but the masses are suffering. The strategies used by the government on the palliative are not flexible enough.

“To get poor people that really need  palliatives, the government should visit the National Identify Management Commission records and Nigeria telecommunication data bank of all subscribers.

“This is because these documents contain the economic status of people and their geographical location,” he said.

Adedoyin said that many poor people relied on their friends and families as well as religious organisations and chain of social networks for survival.

He said  that robbery had increased  in Lagos and Ogun states as a result of the lockdown.

“Those without help have resorted to dispossession  of money and other valuables; plunging Lagos metropolis and Ogun  into fear and suffering.

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“I feel that since the lockdown is curb the spread of  the virus, all states affected with COVID-19 should be on lockdown,” he added.

Another resident, Mr Tade Aina, also a businessman, said that the continuation of the lockdown was a welcome idea, but would inflict hunger on the masses.

“People’s basic needs must be met in order for the lockdown to be effective.

“I appeal to the government to let the palliatives get to the right people.

“As a business owner, it is not easy closing my business for a month, but we have to, because of the health risk,” he said.

Another resident, Mr Adekunle Adepoju, said that the extension was necessary because COVID-19 cases  were increasing.

“We also see that the spread has been moving to other state; we need to lock down.

“With our limited healthcare facilities, the best way to deal with this pandemic is to reduce the rate of spread,” he said.

Adepoju commended the government for efforts in tackling the spread of the virus,  and urged it to provide  palliatives to a large number of poor households.

“People living on daily income from buying and selling are completely cut off, the effect is enormous and people are already crying.

“The people benefiting from the palliatives are less than five percent of the people who really need help this period.

“I think that government should pay some amounts of money  into people’s bank accounts as it is done in some other affected countries, in addition to this physical disbursement of cash to the aged and poor  in rural areas,” he said.

Another resident, Mr Tope Olanrewaju, said that extension of the lockdown was a right step to take, and urged the government to extend it to other affected states.

“This is to ensure no spread of COVID-19 to states that have not recorded any case,” he said.

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“On the over one million more  households to be reached with  palliatives, I strongly believe that this is not enough.

“Over 38.5 million accounts are BVN -linked and about 50 per cent of Nigerians have bank accounts.

“The problem is that there is no central data repository to know who is who.

“Lagos has over 20 million population as such, sharing palliatives to one million has no significance,” he said.

Olanrewaju also said that  Lagos had been experiencing an increase in street robbery due to the lockdown.

“For instance, on my street, for some days now, we have not been sleeping well.

“We watch  throughout the night in order to protect ourselves and families from robbers,” he said.

Another resident, Mr Emmanuel Ojo, told NAN that the extension of the lockdown was both good and bad.

“It is good in the sense that it will help put a stop to the spread of the killer-virus; it is bad because many people will develop ulcer as a result of hunger.

“On palliatives, the one million people to be added is not enough because Nigeria has a large  population.

“Extension of lockdown will be positive if provisions are made to assist the people in the areas of finance and food.

“It will help the citizens to stay at home,” he said.

Another resident, Mr Seyi Okuneye, described the extension as an unavoidable  price to pay for Nigerians’ wellbeing.

“There is no doubt that it will have adverse effects on the masses as it relates to their survival, but at the end, we shall laugh,” he said. (NAN)

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