It’s day seven of a 14-day restriction on movement in Lagos and Abuja. ROBERT EGBE looks at how residents have been coping in both states and elsewhere.
How many grains of rice fill a Derica tin?
Broadcast journalist Kingsley Momoh gave an answer last Tuesday: 98,900 grains for home grown rice and 98,000 grains for imported rice, he said in a Facebook post.
Momoh and Cyril-Okere did not intend to be taken factually. Both posts were some of the ways Nigerians have deployed humour to express their boredom following a near national lockdown in the wake of the Coronavirus (or COVID-19) pandemic.
Both men are just two of the millions who complied with the government’s stay-at-home directive.
President Muhammadu last Sunday imposed a 14-day restriction on movement in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja.
The shutdown, which will be for an initial two weeks, “is the containment period to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases,” Buhari said.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed 174 cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria on Wednesday night following the 23 new cases reported in five states.
They are nine in Lagos, seven in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), five in Akwa Ibom, one each in Kaduna and Bauchi states.
Nine have been discharged with two deaths.
Several days more to go, families are feeling the strain of having to stay home day and night.
A Lagos-based businessman, Bruce Lagos, is one of them.
He told The Nation that although the lockdown has “brought the family together,” it has other disadvantages.
Lagos, a father of four, noted that he and his wife, an accountant, have had to be careful with their finances.
“We can’t increase our spending unnecessarily at home because the foodstuff we bought for this lockdown period is rapidly depleting.
“The kids have become hyper-active from being home all the time. They can sometimes be a bit stubborn, but that is to be expected.
“As much as we are happy to have them around all the time, it’s been a bit more tasking for I and their mother,” he said.
Their major worry, he noted, is how to meet their financial responsibilities without being able to go to work.
Lagos said: “The kids are now eating more. We already paid for their upkeep at school, but that is just wasting away.”
He urged the government to extend its palliatives to more families who might be in the same boat.
Lagos is not the only one feeling the heat.
‘The Johnson’ actress Ada Ameh has been steaming too.
A tearful Ameh poured out her anger at the lack of electricity in a viral Facebook video on Tuesday.
Without it, she noted, staying home was uncomfortable.
Ameh said: “What kind of country is this? Why can’t the government provide simple things as power for people? Everywhere is noisy. Generators everywhere disturbing everybody. If the generators pack up who will repair them?
“People can hardly feed without Coronavirus, now it is worse, yet you want them to stay home. We understand but what palliative have you put in place for them? Let them at least save little foodstuff that they would eat.
“Some of us can afford to feed ourselves, what of others? Please provide light for us so that the children can also watch television and people will comfortably stay at home.”
Not everyone is taking the lockdown pains as calmly as Ameh.
Angry youths in Warri on Wednesday morning, attacked some members of the Delta State Task Force team deployed to enforce the state government’s sit at home order.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on March 26, announced that the state would be on a total lockdown beginning from Wednesday, April 1, to prevent the Covid-19 spread.
A video shared on Facebook showed the Task Force team being harassed by the youths on Jakpa Road.
According to the youths, they could not stay home idle without food.
A similar scenario played out in Lagos same day with some residents launching a protest against the lockdown.
In a video shared online, they were seen resisting officials who were trying to enforce the stay at home order.
An unidentified man was seen telling an official that staying in-doors was challenging because there was no food for them to eat.
He said he and others would protest if the government does not provide them with food during the lockdown.
But for Momoh, the lockdown has afforded his family more time to bond, especially with the bonus of improved power supply in his Ikeja, Lagos neighbourhood.
The father of two said: “I love my kids, I usually try to get home early to meet them before they fall asleep to play and do homework.
“Weekends are usually times to go out if I am home but this lockdown period is a totally unanticipated different ball game.
“Well, power supply has been awesome and of cause consumption goes up with it. I ensure I download new educational videos every day to keep them busy.
“Their schools also send in videos as a means of continuing their schooling which is a huge task for me who is working from home.
“They ask more questions than ever and it gave me the opportunity to notice some developments and behaviours a few hours a day couldn’t afford me.”
Like Momoh, Adebayo Adetayo Ireoluwa is also taking positives from the lockdown. He said staying at home has helped him to appreciate his wife more. He shared his experience on an Instagram post last Friday.
Ireoluwa said: “After this isolation or whatever, I will appreciate my wife more. Imagine my girl emptying a whole hair cream on herself and still coming to share me some in my sleep jeje, this innocent woman has shouted ‘leave there’ more than 30 times in five minutes and me I will just put on one yeye suit, go out and come back home expecting to eat the meal and still eat the maker of the meal.
“Please let’s appreciate our wives the more. They go through a lot in our absence…These few days at home seem like I should faint, how much more someone who is always home to put things in place. I tender an unreserved apology to my wife for my previous gragras and shakaras. It’s not easy. Thank you COVID-19 for lessons learnt.”
The federal and states governments are not unaware of people’s pains and have all announced welfare programmes to cushion the effects of the lockdown on the indigent.
In Lagos, for instance, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is implementing a welfare package for those at the “bottom of the economic ladder”.
“The underprivileged and the most vulnerable among us, will not be left to fend for themselves at this difficult time.
“Our Relief Package, which is to reach about 200,000 households in the first instance, has continued.
“Parts of the following local governments are being covered: Amuwo Odofin, Epe, Ikeja, Badagry, Ibeju – Lekki, Agege,Oshodi-Isolo, Apapa and Lagos Mainland. Others will soon be reached,” Sanwo-Olu said in a statement on Monday.
The Federal Government has also not been left out.
Yesterday, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, said it had commenced cash payments to five thousand beneficiaries of its Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). (NAN)