Deltans have unanimously voiced their unwillingness to endure another period of lock-down after the two weeks of strict restriction by the state government.
The restriction was imposed by the government on Wednesday, 1st April, and it is due for lifting at the end of Tuesday, 14th.
In a broadcast by the Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, the lock-down was to ensure manifestation of latent cases which medical experts say take 14 days to exhibit the symptoms.
The identified cases would then be isolated, and given the required medical treatment to avoid further spreading of the virus.
Due to the expiration of the two weeks period on Tuesday, 14th; masses in the state are apprehensive of rumours that the government is poised to extend the lockdown, probably for a week or two.
Based on this; Real-Time24 conducted a vox pop (voice of the people; popular opinion) to gauge whether or not, the people are prepared for another period of lockdown.
James Okoro, a painter in Iyara axis of Warri said that since the lockdown, he has been deprived of his source of livelihood as he is not formally employed, but lives on daily wages – what he described as “pay-as-you-go”. He added that his wife was recently delivered of a set of triplets which he has been scrapping to cater for and that the lockdown has complicated everything, adding that he is tired of begging for assistance.
A resident of Effurun, John Umukoro said that when he graduated from university six years ago, he remained unemployed for three years before he sought help of relatives and friends to establish a furniture shop. Now, he cannot ply his trade because of the lockdown. Asked to weigh the reasons for the lockdown, he said that though it was for the good of the people, the government knows the type of economy Nigeria operates – the masses fend for themselves, with no support whatsoever from the government. He therefore suggested that the lockdown be lifted and at the worst, the Edo State model where only the borders are locked and with social distancing as well as other safety measures be copied.
Our correspondent who covered the Ughelli axis said there were considerable level of commercial activities in the metropolis.
Ifeanyi Nudukwe, a trader said the lockdown is over due for complete lifting.
He also said that even though it was in the interest of the people, Nigeria should not be a copy cat. He noted that other contries arranged palliative measures for survival of their peoples, while there’s none in the country. ” I wonder what they are doing with the billions of naira that was donated to the Covid 19 fund”, he said.
At Sapele end of the state, the stories are the same as people want immediate lifting of the restriction.
How do you want us to survive? We’re farmers, and I deal on plantain. My produce is perishable! They are overdue for harvesting, and tell me; is there any way plantain is preserved in the country? Tell me because this lockdown has almost completely ruined my life, he yelled.
When asked of the consequences of not observing the lockdown, he said the restriction should have a human face, “let us close the state border and do social distancing. That will be enough”.
At Asaba, the state capital, our correspondent met Doris Onyisi who vehemently supported extension of the lockdown. She said that Nigeria’s health infrastructure cannot afford widespread infection of Coronavirus. She expressed support for extension of the lockdown to ensure that all the latent cases are manifested for effective control of the spread of the virus. Asked about those who live on daily wages/earnings; she rhetorically asked, would they prefer Coronavirus to their daily earnings?
At Agbor, Uloma Obieze was of strong opinion that the restriction be lifted immediately. He said that many states in the country were not observing any restrictions, but have not recorded any case. He said that the solution is social distancing and washing of hands.
At Orerokpe, Omotejowho Ovie (in tears) said that her efforts in investment for over six months is being wasted. “Look at my state, I invested over three million naira sourced from a cooperative society for aquaculture (fish farming), the fish are over due for harvesting, but I cannot because there is no movement. Where are the buyers passing through? I’m now going into more debt by feeding and caring for the fish. This lock-down should not be extended, I’m on my knees begging Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. Please remember us, I beg you, the profit margin in fish farming is very small”.