Residents Of Ogun, Oyo Working In Lagos Demand Consideration Over Curfew, Employers Express Worry Ahead Of Lockdown Easing

President Muhammadu Buhari had put in place a lockdown late in March to stop the spread of Coronavirus.

Persons residing in Ogun and Oyo states but working in Lagos are already lamenting the nature of the curfew expected to take effect from May 4 when the lockdown is eased as part of moves to re-open the economy.

President Muhammadu Buhari had put in place a lockdown late in March to stop the spread of Coronavirus.

The lockdown will now be eased in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT. 

Residents of these states are allowed to conduct non-essential business daily from 6am to 8pm.

Speaking with SaharaReporters on Friday, Olufunke King, who works on Victoria Island but lives in the Mowe area of Ogun State, said the curfew timing was unrealistic

“I work in Victoria Island, I live in Mowe and I cannot imagine leaving home at 6am even though I am mobile because of traffic. 

“What about other people that will need to enter public transport and even with my driving and leaving by 6am, I might not likely get to the office on time and my office resumes 8am, this will be a challenge.

“Coming back, my office usually closes by 5pm, I don’t see how I will meet up with going home before the curfew starts by 8pm, how will it work out?

“Mowe is in between Ogun and Lagos and a lot of people with office jobs live here.

“There has to be consideration for border towns especially at Berger, the police needs to also be considerate and the government needs to look at people like us,” she said.

Lawyer and community leader Oladotun Razak told SaharaReporters that the lack of sensitization of key individuals and industries like transportation is one of the reasons relaxing the lockdown may be a bad idea.

He said, “COVID-19 moves both night and day, it has no restriction. It thrives when multitudes of people come out so the government’s measure of the curfew is not the solution.

“The government should take total and absolute responsibility in order to cushion the people’s plight. Telling people to go out on May 4 is like opening the gates of hell, when there was lockdown, the numbers were increasing daily so imagine when the lockdown is now relaxed without proper mechanisms.

“Government said if you want to board a bus, you must wash your hand and maintain social distancing, in Lagos? Even the taxis are scarce in a good day and people have to rush when they get to bus stops. Are the conductors sensitized about what is going on?”

Business owners and managers are also expressing concern about the situation and it’s potential to escalate if not properly managed.

Abimbola Yusuf, a human resource manager at online bookstore, Bambooks, said workers in the organisation where she works will continue to conduct business remotely.

“The number one challenge is the growing number government keeps telling us everyday that it is increasing and more people are being affected by the virus so asking people to go to work now is tricky.

“We are still weighing it especially because majority of our staff can work from home so for now we are not opening our office immediately, we are still going to wait and see the next two weeks to see how things go.

“Our staff will keep working from home until we are able to assess the situation further, it’s a major concern for us asking people to leave their houses rights now and mingle with everybody,” she said. 

According to her, the welfare of staff remains a key determinant in reopening.

“The government is saying we should all go out between 6am and 8pm and that implication of that is majority of Lagosians will be out at that time when we are trying to stop the virus, it sounds counter-productive.

“Since our business is technology driven, most of us can work from home and eventually when we decided to open the office, I think it will be a phased and gradual thing. We would start with people who essentially have to be in the office everyday.”

Yomi Sanni, a businessman in Lagos Island, who owns a clothing store, worries that not enough has been done to sensitize those who live in crowded places or work from crowded markets.

He said, “I like the easing of the lockdown but it also has consequences. When we were first asked to stay at home, the confirmed cases of the Coronavirus was about 90 or so, now it has surpassed a thousand.

“It’s worrisome from those of us who live on Lagos Island. I understand what the intentions of the government are and how to follow the guidelines but there are people who don’t even believe that COVID-19 is real.

“There is a place I used to pass, I have some friends there, people congregate there and still do so as we speak. If the virus gets into the market with that type of situation, what will be the outcome?

“The only reason I am excited is because my business has been grounded and now I will make sales to make up for lost revenue.”

Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, already said that residents of the state working in Lagos will not be granted permission go.

Sahara reporters