…Say Curfew will still affect commercial activities.
By Mercy Hill, Alexander Johnson, Adejoh and Precious Ukeje.
The immediate effect of coronavirus on Nigerians is already being felt as traders in the popular Eke Awka Market in Awka, Anambra State expressed their thoughts.
These were made known in an interview conducted by Fides to ascertain the effect of the lockdown occasioned by coronavirus In the state.
Following the announcement made by the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano to ease the lockdown and have civil and public servants resume work, commercial activities of industries across the state had since then commenced with strict observance of COVID-19 preventive measures.
Those immediately affected by the lockdown including traders who practically eat and survive on daily income from sales they make.
The COVID-19 outbreak has, in no doubt, sparked a pathetic situation for traders across the world as the lockdown persists, traders continue to plead with the government to provide palliative to indigene and residents in the state, stop police officers from extorting the little drivers get on the roads and ensure that palliatives be evenly distributed.
For many Traders like Mr. Godwin Ifeka Ikechukwu who lamented over the hunger and lack accompanied with the compulsory sit at home directives bitterly complained about the government’s poor arrgement in the distribution of palliative. He expressed his unhappiness that even police officers extorted from the little they managed to get on the roads.
Mrs ….. who referred to the virus as Corona harlot cried that she had been abandoned to hunger since the lockdown. Even so, she lamented that palliative announced by the government of Anambra State never got to her. She therefore pleaded that food items be evenly distributed so that elderly ones would eat and survive.
Joseph Ugorji, a bus driver, lamented that the lock down caused untold hardship to many people. He said everything stood at stand still and there was paucity of food.
He added that items delivered to cushion the effect of the lockdown weren’t properly distributed.
He also said that it was difficult going out to face operatives of security agencies in a bid to carter for one’s family. He further said that many people died as a result of BP, hunger and other factors occasioned by it more than the disease itself.
He pleaded that the federal and state governments should be wary of who they hand over palliative to distribute to citizens.
Another transport operator, Ifeka Godspower, popularly known as Akwuzu, also spoke to Fides. He said his business was affected. It was difficult to find passengers going to anywhere and it occasioned difficulty in raising money for feeding his family.
He added that to be on the road, he would spend so much money in settling the Police.
He also decried inability to visit his mother who was sick in the village. He added that materials donated as palliative never got to him.
Mama lamented the closing of market places which made it difficult for her to purchase food items. She complained bitterly of continuous sleep which she had gotten tired of.
She pleaded with the government to do everything within its powers to combat the virus. Mama also lamented that the means of greeting among people was no longer there.
She regretted that no palliative package got to her and added that most of them were distributed on a man-know-man basis. She also said government should employ a more effective means of distributing the items meant to cushion the effect of the lockdwn.
A student in SS1 said they did not feel happy when they were stopped from going to school.
He added that he stayed at home for two weeks before taking up pure water hawking business.
Mr Donatus Ndu, a foam dealer at Eke Awka, said it had its toll on citizens. He maintained that a lot of Nigerians fed from hand to mouth and that required that they worked for daily income to be able to carter for themselves.
He added that this caused both psychological, physical and physiological sicknesses.
In a personal experience, he said that he also suffered from not selling and not receiving any palliative. He added that the palliative claimed to be distributed was what Nigerians describe as “audio palliative”.
Ebele Okeke who deals in all types of bags said that some people had to spend their savings during the lock down and upon relaxation, bags were no more priorities which results in little or no sales for her.
She added that in her area, Amikwo, Umudiana, she and people around got some bags of rice and cartons of noodles. She, however, added that only a fraction of citizens got the palliative.