In his address to Nigerians on Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari announced that the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun, and Abuja will be eased gradually from 4th May.
The latest coronavirus figures from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control show that figures from Lagos are not receding. The center of excellence recorded 80 new cases.
To ensure that Lagos gradually returns to its normal hustle and bustle, it made facemasks compulsory while arguing that the increase in the number of cases is due to the significant increase in the number of testing carried out by the state government with the support of the NCDC. Hence, the need for gradual ease.
Understandably, the government is in a dilemma as to whether to end the lockdown or maintain it. So many Lagosians have complained that they are hungry. Companies are shutting down and some are downsizing. The economic impact of coronavirus is mounting.
Meanwhile, the reportedly promised palliatives from both state and federal governments are taking forever to arrive. As for the palliatives that are provided, it is distributed to a selected few or is never enough.
In some of the more developed economies, the government is actually paying the citizens to encourage them to stay at home.
Of course, Nigeria can not afford this. At the same time, the government has to do something to encourage Nigerians to stay home which they have not done. The absence of these palliatives led to the security lapses or breaches in Lagos at the beginning of the lockdown where robbers almost took over the state.
Now that the lockdown has been eased with coronavirus numbers rising increasing, a lot of Lagosians are questioning the government’s move.
Many say despite the ease, use of facemasks, and perhaps social distancing, there so many factors that can still lead to the spread of coronavirus. For example, not everyone is mobile in the city, you have to jump Danfo if you do not have money for Uber. The government has not made arrangements for this.
By the way, facemask has now been turned to fashion as some Nigerians use all sorts of materials to make them. These facemasks do not protect against the virus.
Very few people will envy Babajide Sanwoolu at this time because he has a huge decision to make between Lagosians surviving and protect them against the novel coronavirus.
By: Damilola Faustino