In Nigeria, COVID-19 has ground the country to a halt and has put several cities across the country on an indefinite strike. The Federal Capital Territory, Lagos state (the economic backbone of the country) and Ogun state are currently on lockdown and while many see this as house arrest with no end in sight, the government has made it clear that this is necessary for stopping the spread of the disease.
The entire atmosphere of Ikare, a community in Akoko North-East, Ondo state, is now a shadow of itself as the fear of virus has changed the social story in the land.
The social distancing order, of course, has been taken seriously despite the fact that Ondo state has only recorded one victim of the virus so far, a military man.
The total lockdown has affected businesses in Ikare and where there once stood a vibrant bustling town now sits a silent landscape.
Mrs Shittu Adejoke, a trader in the area, laments that the people could no longer go out and as for her, she is depressed indoors because there is no food and no business to survive.
“We know the social distancing order was given to prevent the spread of the virus but my head was aching me since yesterday because I’m hungry. I could not eat and I have been depressed for days now. I have people who depend on me to cater for but I cannot do that now because I can no longer work and there is no money to survive,” she said.
One of the traders in the area, Mrs Marryian, also expressed that it has been hard for her now to survive. She noted that throughout her life, she has never encountered a sickness that has forced the nation, and indeed the whole world, to lock up.
Many citizens find it difficult to adhere to the instruction to sit at home but the soldiers and military men no doubt have displayed their civil duties, putting necessary things in order and the people no longer have a choice than to adhere and obey the social distance order whether they are pleased or not.
Mr Alabi, a businessman in the area, said things are no longer easy for him and others around him. He noted that although there are no cases of domestic violence being reported at the moment and people seem to be at peace, they still need foodstuffs.
“We have not seen any fund or food from the government here except Bunmi Tunji Ojo (BTO) who recently gave some food out to various units of the local government.
“He tried and we really appreciate him a lot for that even if I didn’t receive any, not because he didn’t give, he did, but the people here are much,” he explained.
Although fumigation has been done, he urged the government to support them while they are in their various houses.
Meanwhile, churches and mosques in the area have bowed to the federal government’s order to stay indoors, except for a few who still preach their message in the Jubilee Market Square.
Regarding transportation in the area, this too has suffered a blow. Where the car parks where once full of drivers and passengers trying to provide services and utilise these services, only about 10 per cent of the drivers show up to the park these days. Their faces show their unhappiness with the lockdown as their normal means of making money has been stumped. Mr Ojo Tunde, a driver at the park, said the people are strictly obeying the social distancing order but it would have been better if some sort of monetary provision was given to support the masses during this time.
“There is nothing bad if N5000 is given to everyone by the government but politics is being played,” he said.
He added that things like those rice, beans and other things that ought to be shared now will probably be kept until election time so that politicians can campaign with them but the people are hungry now.
Mrs Funmi, a mother of three whose husband is a driver, said: “Other states with the virus were locked down and despite the fact that we don’t have many records here, we strictly adhere to the social distancing order but we need food to survive, the government should help us.”
Additionally, the provision of food to support the people to stay at home is like an invisible dream to the people because they only hear, the government wants to give out funds and food to support them so they can stay in their various houses, but when there is no food, will people die of hunger?
In conclusion, all the people of Ikare Akoko, students, teachers, drivers, parents and even their kids hope the pandemic ends soon so they can continue their normal lives and hope things get back on track as soon as possible.
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