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Lagos observes quiet day one of COVID-19 lockdown

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Ikeja residents receiving foodstuffs from a group, Good Cultured People for Humanity…yesterday. PHOTO: ENIOLA DANIEL


• Residents scamper for food in Ikeja
• Mile 12 market launches mobile market
• UNILAG old students raise awareness

Nothing else illustrated the first day of the two weeks lockdown in the nation’s commercial capital, Lagos State, than the popular Ojodu Berger bus-stop, the first transit park for incoming and outgoing buses at the city’s gateway. It was a strict compliance with the stay at home directive of the president announced in his broadcast on Sunday night aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja.

The park, usually a beehive of activities 24 hours of the day was a shadow of itself, devoid of any human activity, save for a few pedestrians strolling on the highway. Everything else, grinding traffic jam, noisy roadside traders, unorganized market and stalls, discourteous drivers and area boys, were completely absent.
 
Many of the trailers, truck, and other vehicles attempting to enter Lagos were stopped at the tail-end of Lagos/Ibadan Expressway before the Berger bus-stop by the combined team of the Nigerian Police Force, led by the divisional police officer for Ojodu, Simire Hilary, and men of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). Only vehicles and trucks conveying food items like tomatoes and other consumables into Lagos, ambulances and motorists who could explain why they are on essential duty, were allowed to pass through the roadblock.

The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State command, Hakeem Odumosu, and some senior officers also went around town to enforce the directive of Mr. President shutting down Lagos. Some of the places visited included: Maryland, Ojota, Ketu, Mile 12, Owode-Onirin, Majidun, Ogolonto, Agric, Ikorodu and Ojodu-Berger, and Magodo.

In all there was total compliance. At Ikosi Road and Majidun, DCP Olatunji Disu, head of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), enlightened youths who barricaded the roads to play football of the danger of not obeying social distancing. He urged them to go back to their houses, emphasizing that the essence of the sit at home order is to minimize social interactions.

Some residents in Ikeja area of Lagos were sighted rushing to get foodstuff distributed by a group, The Good Cultured People for Humanity. The group, led by the founder of PalmAfrika, Princess Adesuwa Obaseki, said they came out to distribute the items as they cannot watch while some citizens who can hardly get a meal a day starve during the lockdown.

 
Speaking with The Guardian, Adesuwa said: “We are a group of few good cultured people who came together to support people who will be indoors without food to eat. We felt there are people out there who live below the normal income rate per day. Two weeks is a long time for someone who rely on getting his or her daily bread with daily sale to sit at home doing nothing. So, we decided to put funds together and get some essential commodities to make a good meal, and so far, we have shared to over 400 families.”

Meanwhile, to mitigate the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown on Lagos residents, traders at the Mile 12 International Market have concluded plans to avail Lagosians with a Mobile Market. In a statement signed by the Executive Chairman of the largest perishable foodstuff market in the state, Alhaji Shehu Usman, he said the mobile market would visit streets in the neighbourhood in all the 20 Local Government Areas for retail sales of essential perishable commodities.

“The mobile market is structured to sell to residents in small quantities in a well packaged and hygienic way. Any individual or family that wish to order online for home delivery can do so through our website www.mile12market.org or call 09094142596, 07033641630 WhatsApp: 08037047271

Old students of the Department of Linguistics, African and Asian Studies, University of Lagos (UNILAG), recently took to the streets in Lagos to raise awareness about the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2008-set also distributed free sanitisers as their contribution to efforts at eradicating the deadly scourge.

A member of the group and worker of the Lagos State Health Service Commission, Kafayat Adeoye, said at Ikorodu garage, venue of the sensitisation that the group was motivated to carry out the exercise because a lot of people did not believe that coronavirus is real. Adeoye said some others erroneously believed that coronavirus is an elitist infection and that they are immune to it.

One of the conveners of the project, and lecturer at the Institute of African and Diaspora Studies, UNILAG, Dr. Bisoye Eleshin, emphasised that social groups, including old students association, should join hands with the government to make sure that this COVID-19 pandemic is totally defeated in Lagos in particular and Nigeria in general.


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