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Lagos markets go on partial lockdown over Covid-19

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Ladipo auto spare parts market locked yesterday. PHOTO: YETUNDE JEARIOGBE

The Yorubas have greetings for every season and occasion, as a new one debuted yesterday: “Eku atimole coronavirus yi o,” followed by a response, “Aani ba corona lo ooo;” meaning ‘Happy coronavirus lockdown,’ and ‘We won’t be victims of the virus.’

That was how many Lagos residents exchanged pleasantries yesterday as there was partial compliance to the directives of the state government that all open markets and stores should be closed except for sellers of food and medicines.

When our reporters visited some of the open markets, it was discovered that some of the traders opened their shops for businesses and went about their daily activities without hindrances. Speaking with our reporter at Iyana-Ejigbo, Mr. Ifeanyi, who is into furniture business, stated that the directives was only meant for the big shops and not lock-up stores, even though other shops around him were closed.

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Also, UBA opposite Zone 7, LASTMA office, Iyana Ejigbo, Lagos, opened for business while other banks like Fidelity and First Bank in the vicinity were shut in compliance to the order. MTN office at Ikotun also opened for business in defiance of the government’s directive on lock down, as many of the offices had more than 25 persons at a time in the same space.

The lockdown was observed in other big markets like Computer village, Ladipo spare parts market, all markets in Lagos Island and Alaba international market.

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, yesterday led an enforcement team to effect the governor’s directive. Odumosu, who visited many markets in the city, encouraged some of the pharmaceutical outlets to remain open for sick persons.

He also urged managers of restaurants and fast food centres he visited to ensure good hygiene and maintain social distancing. The police boss alongside his deputy and commander of Lagos State Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Tunji Disu, visited some markets across the metropolis. At Adeniji Adele market, the police boss compelled commercial bus drivers to comply with the principle of social distancing.

According to the commander of RRS, Disu, “so far, so good, compliance level has been impressive.” In Lagos Island, despite the sit-at-home order of the state government, traders and shop owners were seen hanging around their shops. Some of the streets on the Island were also turned to football pitch by youths in the area.

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