James Ojo, Isaac Anumihe, Fred Itua, Charity Nwakaudu, Agu Dawn and Benjamin Babine, Abuja
One week after President Muhammadu Buhari declared total lockdown on Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states to curtail the spread of the deadly COVID-19, many residents have resumed normal lives.
President Buhari, in a nationwide broadcast on March 29, said apart from those on essential services, other residents were to stay at home.
However, findings by Daily Sun have revealed that many residents, especially those in satellite towns of FCT have resumed their normal lives.
Some markets too have remained opened while shops not rendering essential services have also resumed operations in Kubwa, Lugbe, Kuje, Bwari, Nyanya/Karu among others. Many residents gave hunger as their reason for flouting the order.
John Ettie, who resides in Piankasa (a rural community in Federal Capital Territory), claimed the President promised to deploy food and materials to them, but lamented they were yet to see anything. So, they have been compelled to look for food or anything they can do to get money. For
For Akwashika Bitrus, the stay-at-home has been a source of pains and anguish. He said he cannot continue to endure hunger and also watch his children endure same thing.
“Enough is enough. I am a mason man. I must go out to see if I can see what to do to feed my family. The government cannot feed me and my family. One thing must kill a man. It is either coronavirus or hunger. I will prefer coronavirus to kill me,” he said.
When accosted at Area 1 Bus Stop, Joseph Musa could not hide his anger and disappointment at the turn out of events. He narrated how his employer capitalised on the situation to withhold their salary and he has been borrowing money to survive since last month.
“I am a ticketing clerk with one of the transport companies. After the lockdown, we no longer have enough passengers and our manager said that we should go home until the situation improved. We were due for payment before the lockdown but our manager is now using the situation to withhold our salary. I am going to the company to see if I can meet him or the owner of the company,” he said.
Suleiman is a 34-year-old truck pusher known as Maiboola, from Potiskum, Yobe State. He has continued to ply his trade in Kubwa, a suburb of Abuja with no regard for the stay at home order.
“I am doing a special duty. I pick refuse so that the street will not be dirty. Yes, they said we should stay at home. But I can’t because I need to survive and take care of my family.”
Abdul from Kano State corroborated Suleiman’s claim of rendering special services and the problems with the Taskforce.
A tomatoes seller in Kubwa market, Susan Attah, said the lockdown is gradually killing her family.
“I don’t think that we that live from hand to mouth will be able to survive this 14 days lockdown. It is just a week into the lockdown and my house it empty. Everything is very expensive now, including water. Imagine a bag of sachet of water which is sold for N100 is now N150. Apart from the physical hunger, we are also suffering from spiritual hunger. Last Sunday was Palm Sunday and the first Sunday of the month. We, were, not allowed to go to church because of this Coronavirus. We are really tired because if nothing is done, most of us will die of hunger.”
Daniel Sesugh ,a motor parts dealer in Apo, confessed that his family is already dying of hunger days after the lockdown.
He added that he decided to break the law by sitting in front of his shop to secretly make minor sales for the up keep of the family.
A motorist, James Akor from Jabi, stated that life has been unbearable since the lockdown “because it was too sudden. It has not been easy for me because I have spent all I had on me. I tried several times to get on the road to make little money for the upkeep of the family, but I ended up spending because I was arrested and had to bail my car.”
Mr. Ianna Gabriel, a public servant from Prince and Princess Estate in Abuj, said: “This is my third week on quarantine. I should be going to work before the Federal Government issued the order and it has not been easy.
“Before the stay at home order, I had already started to panic buy and send things down to Makurdi for my family there. So I have spent a lot of money and the spending doesn’t stop.”
Meanwhile, FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has disclosed that the Administration will this week, commence the distribution of palliative materials to the less privileged as part of measures to cushion the effect.
The minister, who made this disclosure during an inspection tour of storage facilities at the Kubwa NYSC Orientation Camp, also maintained that the palliatives are targeted at the vulnerable residents and the physically challenged in rural communities.
On those qualified to benefit from the palliative, the Minister said “the real poor and vulnerable ones that are desirous and anyone that comes up with a proof and sincerely believe that his family is desirous of this palliative. These are the people this palliatives are targeted at.”