Uche Usim, Molly Kilete, Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Godwin Tsa, James Ojo, Isaac Anumihe, Ndubuisi Orji, Fred Itua, Samuel Bello and Okwe Obi
A two-week extension of the lockdown in Abuja was the last thing residents expected from President Muhammadu Buhari in his nationwide broadcast on Monday.
So, many were jolted, especially entrepreneurs and artisans, when it dawned on them that they would be cocooned in their homes for another 14 days without venturing out to eke a living. However, unlike in Lagos where hoodlums, in the pretext of protesting the elongated lockdown, defied security personnel to raid many shops, Abuja residents were too scared to square up with stern-looking paramilitary operatives who manned strategic locations in the FCT.
Majority of those who spoke with Daily Sun described the situation as a war strategy by the government to use hunger and starvation to wipe them out on the surface of the earth.
Judex Okongwu, a trader in Wuse 2 said he just managed to restock his grocery shop barely 24 hours before the lockdown was extended.
He feared his wares may go stale once there are insufficient buyers for them.
“Who would buy these things? I’ve over 500 frozen poultry and other edibles. Everyday, I’ll leave my house, face horrible traffic due to many check points, only to come and run the generator for some of my goods. Some are highly perishable with short shelf life”, he lamented.
Florence Bako who owns a pharmacy said the additional two weeks will be tough because she has ran out of wares.
A drive through various parts of the FCT showed fewer vehicles on the road on Tuesday unlike what played out during the initial two-week shutdown.
From the popular AYA junction, famous Abacha mammy market fish joint, to Nyanya, Karu, Jikwoyi, Kpeyegi, Gidan Mangoro, Orozo and Karshi, residents stayed indoors.
Shops were closed except for those selling provisions, pharmaceutical products, and other petty traders who sells foodstuff, fruits and vegetables.
At the Orozo Tuesday market, security operatives patrolled the place to ensure that only food items were sold in the market. However traders who deal on clothes, shoes and other items not related to food, hid their wares in their bags and sold secretly to buyers. Also, a visit to some popular bars and restaurants showed that customers were not in short supply.
Ibrahim Moshood, a bar owner, described the lockdown as a blessing as his sales have soared. The only problem he said was that most of his customers now pay with POS, which has forced him to hire a temporary one.
In Gwarimpa, Wuse, Utako/Jabi and Kubwa districts, a combined team of security agents erected barricades. Motorists who were not on essential services were either delayed or turned back.
In Kubwa, only one entry point out of four was opened. Security agents who were on duty, told our correspondent that the FCT Commissioner of Police issued a new directive that recalcitrant motorists should be arrested and prosecuted.
In Gwarimpa, only one entry point through the Kubwa expressway was opened. The popular Charlie Boy bus stop was shut. Many vehicles were also turned back by security agents.
Utako/Jabi axis witnessed a tighter enforcement. Cab drivers who flouted the stay-home-order, were chased by police vans. Many of them, it was later learnt, offered bribe before they were released.
Some artisans in Kubwa defied the lockdown order and opened for business. These included mechanics, vulcanizers, car wash operators and carpenters. They told Daily Sun that further attempts to confine them at home for two weeks was a veiled way of asking them to commit suicide.
Several commercial motorcyclists popularly known as okada were seen going about their normal businesses, just like many vehicles were seen on the road.
Hawkers were not left out. They flaunted their wares on their heads and in wheelbarrows close to junctions where people could patronise them.