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Transporters rejoice at easing of lockdown but Lawyers, Lagosians say it is risky

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 The Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for announcing a “gradual easing” of COVID-19 lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja from May 4.

Alhaji Abdulrahman Amusan, the National Publicity Secretary of RTEAN told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos that members of the union were excited to resume operations and earn a living.

Amusan said that the union received the news with gladness, saying that members of the union were worst-hit by the lockdown order since March 30.

According to him, the Federal Government’s decision shows that the President has consideration for the plight of the masses whose businesses and source of livelihood have been affected by the lockdown.

But two Lagos-based lawyers, Isaiah Odje and Adebayo Johnson, say the partial easing of lockdown in Lagos, against the spread of novel coronavirus at this time, “is not safe for residents”.

Mr Odje of the Odje Chambers said that easing the lockdown in Lagos, at this time, was not the best decision.

“It is risky and may result in more casualties.

“With the way people will rush out from Monday for work and other engagements, I fear the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases will double in few days.

“Although Lagos State Government has announced that its workers from levels one to 12 should work from home, what of federal and private workers and other individuals?’’ Odje said.

Another lawyer, Mr Johnson, said that the relaxation of the lockdown was dangerous as Lagos would record more confirmed cases and even deaths because of its population.

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“It is not safe to ease lockdown at this point in time because Lagos is over-crowded.

Some Lagos residents on Thursday expressed mixed feelings on the planned ease of lockdown of the state.

Mr Emmanuel Oladele, a 50-year-old engineer, who resides at Ogba,  said  that easing  the lockdown would be in the interest of the populace.

“Government felt the pains of the citizens. The masses are suffering;  the palliatives did not circulate well.

“People can now go for their daily activities starting from Monday but with a little adjustment which l consider very fair,” he said.

Mrs Amaka Chike, a food seller, who lives at Agege, said that easing the lockdown was a welcome development.

“Before the lockdown, l made a minimum of N6,500 as profit  but now, I manage to make N1,300 gain in a day.

“This is because only few people buy; many are broke,” she said.

Chike said that some of her customers had been buying on credit with a promise to pay when lockdown would be relaxed.

“I am happy that the government would  relax the lockdown starting from Monday, so that  those who bought on credit can pay me.

However, Mr Temiloluwa Aina, a civil servant, who lives at Egbeda, said that relaxing the  lockdown might not be the best for Lagos at the moment.

Aina said that COVID-19 rate in Nigeria, especially Lagos, had been increasing  daily.

“Why is it now that the virus is hitting high in Lagos that they want us to go out? It is risky.

“We were asked to stay at home when we had few cases and asked to go out now that the cases are much,” he said.

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Aina said that Lagos would need total lockdown rather than relaxation in order to tackle the spread of the virus.

“The rate at which the virus is spreading is alarming and I am afraid,” he said.

Also, Mr Tunde Sunday, a public servant who resides at Abule-Egba, said that easing the lockdown was not advisable.

” What is needed now is total lockdown.

“I follow the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Facebook and Twitter.

“Nigeria recorded the highest daily number  yesterday which was 196 cases.

“Lagos alone had 87 cases and death  toll increased  to 51 in Nigeria. This  is scary; so, how do we curb the virus when we have been told to go  out?

“I don’t see the transporters especially Lagos ‘yellow’ buses complying with government directives, it won’t work in Lagos ,” he said.

” I am appealing to the Federal Government to shut down the country so that we can live.

“COVID-19 kills faster than hunger,” he claimed. (NAN)

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