Sunday, January 16, 2022

Gradual easing of a 5 week lockdown order of President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos, Ogun and FCT started on Monday, 4th May 2020, with several precautionary measures specified by Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu such as compulsory use of facemask, regular hand washing and observance of social distance. Lagos state transport workers narrates their experience the after lock down.

Berger bus-stop, an area that shares a border with Ogun State experienced a long queue and traffic this morning as few buses was available to commute passengers to their various destinations. National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW officials were on ground to ensure drivers complied with directives which requires the use of facemask, hand sanitizers and social distance before loading passengers. One of the NURTW officials, Mr. Monsuru Bamisaye said that their duty is to ensure that all commercial drivers and bus conductors plying Lagos road comply with Gov. Sanwo-olu’s directives of gradual easing of COVID-19 lockdown in the state.

Monsuru said “we would only allow passengers with face-mask to enter. And only drivers that make provision for water, soap and sanitizers for their passengers would operate on this axis. We would make sure that no “Danfo” commercial buses in Lagos load more than 60%, they must carry one passenger in the front and three on each seat at the back. Any commercial bus drivers that refuse to cooperate with us “A ma le iya pa ni tabi ka fine e” (would be chased and asked to pay fine). There is no fixed amount to the fine; it would depend on the level of his cooperation, if he wants to prove stubborn we would ask him to pay five thousand after he must have done all what he ought to have done.”

A commercial motorcyclist, popularly known as “Okada” who does not want his name in print was found siting on his bike in front of his house, he laments that this government is less concerned about their survival that is why they suspended their activities.

He said, “First of all they promise to give us palliatives, we only saw it on the screen of our TV nothing touched our hands, as we were being hopeful of the gradual easing of the lockdown to work and earn some money to pay my debts, then the Governor suspends motorcycle operation. “Egbo, se a ki se eniyan ni” (Are we not human)? The bike man asked. How did they want us to survive? I am married with three kids, they are all at home, my wife is a fashion designer, am not working, she is not working, and no palliatives anywhere how would man survive. It is unfair, he concludes.

A tricycle driver, simply identified as Yinusa shows a sign of gratitude.

Yinusa said “Though with the directive of carrying just two passengers, my daily income has reduced by 50% as expected yet I give thanks to God for sound health and protection. Our Union Taskforce is out there ensuring no one load more than two passengers. The joy is that there is always passenger to carry and the road is relatively free.”

Today, marking the second day of the gradual easing of COVID-19 lockdown, it is becoming obvious that if nothing is done to enforce social distance among Lagosians, all the previous efforts of the government will amount to nothing as the battle over COVID-19 would be lost.

The incident that happened in some banks yesterday is an indication that previous precautionary measures such as ‘stay safe, stay at home’ campaigns and enforcement of the government are futile. Lagosians are yet to learn the importance of social distance. The crowd seen in several banks yesterday should send signals to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) that a pendulum is swinging and no one knows where it will fall.

By Ife Adewole

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