President Muhammadu Buhari directed Lagos state government to relax the lockdown in the state starting from the 4th of May, 2020.
The directive issued on the 27th of April, had residents of Lagos excited and anticipating things going back to normal.
But did normalcy return?
“Freedom at last”, many said.
Is it true freedom?
How long will it last?
A few days after, according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, the number of confirmed cases in Lagos stands at 1491, an increment of about 26.8% since Monday, May 4.
Is there a possibility, we will have another lockdown after this one?
Let’s explore three reasons the Lagos lockdown might be too early to be eased and why we could have another one soon.
The Instance of Ghana
President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana informed Ghanaian in the country’s two major cities, Accra and Kumasi, they can go back to their normal life and move freely; citing “severe difficulties for all across the country, especially for the poor and vulnerable” as major reasons for lifting the lockdown.
Fourteen days after; even with the President directing citizens to practice social distancing and maintain good personal hygiene, the country’s confirmed coronavirus cases have risen by at least 60% according to SaharaReporters.
As of May 3, confirmed cases have risen to 2,169 with 18 deaths.
This, as expected had people worried, and that’s including those whom – the President described as “poor and vulnerable”.
Adwoa Nyarku, a house cleaner who averages about 36000 naira ($100) in Ghana’s capital city of Accra was interviewed by The Washington Post, she was quoted by the paper saying:
“All the people l work for do not even want me around their homes, they want to be safe and l understand it, but it also means, l have nothing to feed myself and children with.”
I want you to understand me, I am not saying people aren’t suffering and/or shouldn’t be allowed to look for their daily bread.
My point is, easing the lockdown won’t HELP anyone in any way!
And this also applies to Lagos, many wouldn’t have their means of livelihood back; at least, not until they are certain the spread of COVID-19 has been contained.
Confirmed coronavirus cases in Nigeria was 2388 (as of May 3), three days after the lockdown was lifted in Lagos, the NCDC published the country has 1138 new cases, that number includes 10 officials of the Lagos state government house.
Do you still think easing is a good idea?
The government should FOCUS on making the lockdown more tolerable for people especially the poor and vulnerable by working harder to make palliatives reach “more” people.
Lagos Population and Its Peculiarities
Governor Babatunde Sanwo-Olu listed guidelines/precautionary measures everyone who falls under the sectors allowed movement must follow.
- People would be allowed into Open Markets and Mall from 9 am to 3 pm on selected days and everyone must follow precautionary measures.
- Vehicles transporting agricultural produce and other essential goods, to and from Lagos from any part of the country are not allowed to carrying more than 7 passengers, irrespective of the size.
- Schools are to remain locked and continue with the options like the e-learning already being explored.
- Religious institutions should also remain closed from any form of gathering.
- Transportation businesses must adhere to an overnight curfew, operations will be from 6am to 7pm.
- Bus drivers and conductors as well as passengers are to wear face masks at all times and also practice the “coronavirus ritual” of handwashing and/or hand sanitizing regularly.
See that last part, where Bus Drivers, Conductors, and their passengers will have to wear face mask, and wash or sanitize their hands – got me reeling.
Update: Information has it Lagos state government is using the Military to enforce the use of Face Masks, but what about hand-washing and the use of hand sanitizers?
If you live in Lagos or you’re a regular visitor, you know that will probably not happen; these people are, in my own opinion, from a different world and they don’t care about what you or what the government tells them.
Most of them don’t believe the coronavirus is real, and how do people prevent what they feel doesn’t exist?
It gets worse when you think about the 6am – 7pm curfew.
Let me share a quick story with you.
When I started the full-time business of adulthood, I had to relocate outside Lagos because I wanted to be more productive.
I made that decision after some horrible, horrible traffic experience (or how else would you describe spending almost 8/9 hours on a journey that shouldn’t be more than 2 hours max).
Heavy Traffic is unique to Lagos and this is down to the population of the state and the poor state of transportation infrastructures.
The sad news is, the traffic riddle will come into play as we enter this new phase of the lockdown and believe me (you can also quote me) it will create more problems than it will solve.
I don’t have any suggestions for this one, because e pass me and my technical knowledge.
I will do the Nigerian norm and pray everything goes well. 😉
Health Professionals don’t Support
After the President ordered the easing of the lockdown in Lagos, below is the first updates I saw on my WhatsApp status was:
“Basically, from of May 4, it’s your immune system and in-sha Allah”.
I probed further, here is the response I got:
“Basically, easing the lockdown is a big mistake, if not the biggest. You can see how the numbers are increasing daily.
The government is trying to save the economy at the detriment of our lives.”
This is from a medical doctor, who works with the Lagos state government and has seen people with coronavirus and possibly treated one.
Another medical practitioner and popular Twitter influencer, Aproko Doctor, is also not in agreement with the government’s decision.
“I think we should wait until the numbers start to decrease at least before relaxing a lockdown.”
I reached out to Aproko Doctor for comments but he was unavailable.
You probably wonder, why do they care?
Well, they are the foot soldiers in this war against an unseen enemy.
They will be the ones to face the battle if the numbers go out of hand.
Hundreds of health workers have died in developed countries with better facilities, just imagine how things could turnout here if the numbers reach what is obtainable in Italy.
PremiumTimes reported sometimes in April that the president of resident Doctors UCH Ibadan tested positive for coronavirus.
I want you to take a moment and imagine the number of people like the doctor, who have been infected because it is their duty to care for people and save life.
I am not qualified to give any advice on this one, so I will take it from another medical doctor.
Doctor Bukola Ajiboye Salami shared this on Facebook:
The signs for the relaxation of Lagos Lockdown is not good and it’s obvious for everyone to see.
Let’s hope and “pray” decisions the government makes from here on is in the right direction, because it is fact Nigeria can not handle it if things go south.
Stay Safe guys.