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Many flee as man slumps at ATM gallery

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LASTMA officials impound a vehicle at Anthony bus stop, Lagos. Photo: Eniola Daniel

Commuters, beer-starved residents besiege city centre, drinking joints
The Automated Teller Machine (ATM) gallery of a commercial bank in Onipanu area of Lagos State yesterday was immediately deserted after a man on the queue slumped causing panic as many suspected it was a possible COVID-19 case. A member of staff and a security personnel immediately summoned courage and evacuated the man from the scene while health workers were alerted.

When checks were ran on the man, it indicated he had a high temperature although others blamed alcohol in the hot sun for the incident. Still, others speculated it could have been as a result of suffocation at the crowded ATM following the relaxation of the lockdown by the federal government.

For a while, bank customers deserted the ATM gallery as they fled the scene for fear of contacting the virus. Many of the eyewitnesses said the man had difficulty in breathing and was panting heavily shortly before he collapsed while on the queue.

That was one of the many highlights of the Day One of the ease of lockdown, which began yesterday after five-weeks of restriction on movement. Contrary to Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s appeal against flooding the road, residents trooped out en-masse to transact their various businesses. There was total chaos as residents, motorists, commercial bus operators stormed the roads as early as 7:00a.m.

Across the state, there were gridlocks on the roads visited. Motorists stayed long hours in traffic before getting to their destinations. The Bus Rapid Transit, BRT operators kept to the 60 per cent occupancy capacity, with 21 passengers on board. Though passengers on the BRT long queue did not observe physical distancing, however, the operators only permitted passengers with face marks onboard.

Many of the commercial buses popularly called Danfos flouted the 60 per cent occupancy capacity as they carried full load during the early morning rush hour. Commuters however expressed concern over the increase in transport fares. The tricycles popularly called ‘keke Maruwa’, in compliance with the directive of Lagos State government conveyed just two passengers, thereby increasing the cost of transportation by one hundred percent. For instance, Ikorodu garage to Mile 12 that used to be N100 was been increased to N200.

The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) however impounded some commercial vehicles in the Anthony area of Lagos for violating the number of passengers that should be in the vehicle to curb the spread of the pandemic. The officer on duty who does not want his name in print said erring motorists would face the full wrath of the law.

Meanwhile, anxious commuters trooped out in droves into the city center of Abuja yesterday as frenetic activity characterised the phased easing of the five weeks lockdown to control community spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Beer-starved residents, particularly those in the suburbs and parts of the city centre, also used the opportunity of the partial ease yesterday to quench their appetite by visits to drinking joints which also opened for brisk business in the neighbourhoods, before commencement of the overnight curfew from 8pm-6am.

Millions of citizens in the country have been living under restrictions ordered by the government since March 30 as part of the measures to fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.


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