•Nigeria records 4 new cases of coronavirus, 3 in Osun, 1 in Ogun
•As total confirmed cases jump to 135
•Bauchi slams 14 days lockdown; 3rd person tests positive
•Nyanya, Mararaba residents lament as lockdown paralyses activities
•Ask FG to cushion effects with palliatives
•Inmates protest at Kaduna prisons; Shi’ites raise alarm over El-Zakzaky’s safety
•Angry man wails: I prefer my wife to die at home than be abandoned here
By Peter Egwuatu, Chioma Obinna, Nkiru Nnorom, Rosemary Onuoha, Godwin Oritse, Godfrey Bivbere, Prince Ekwujuru, Joseph Erunke, Gabriel Olawale, Luminous Jannamike, Elizabeth Adegbesan, Ediri Ejoh, Prince Okafor, Charly Agwam & Ibrahim Hassan
LAGOS — Barely 24 hours after the lock-down directed by the Federal Government took effect yesterday, residents of the federal capital, Abuja, and Lagos have started lamenting effects of the restriction order, asking the authorities to provide palliatives to cushion the effects.
In Lagos, a man who simply identified himself as Alamutu in a video that has gone viral, yesterday raised dust over failure of personnel at Lagos State Infectious Diseases Hospital, IDH, Yaba, to attend to his wife who had come down with Coronavirus. The incident happened on Monday.
This came as inmates of Kaduna prisons (correctional centre) yesterday went on rampage for fear of the virus, but the protest was immediately quelled.
This is even as four new confirmed cases of the virus were, according to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, recorded in the country yesterday, bringing the total to 135. Of the four, three were recorded in Osun, while the remaining one was discovered in Ogun.
This is, however, exclusive of a third case Bauchi State deputy governor, Baba Tela, announced also yesterday.
In the 45 seconds viral video, Mr Alamutu said in a rage: “My name is Mr Alamutu, what the hell are they doing here? Since I brought my wife here (Yaba Isolation Centre), she hasn’t been attended to by any doctor or nurse, neither did they feed her. And you are telling me not to take her out. Let her go and die in my house, simple!
“I don’t care any more. The fact that she has Coronavirus doesn’t mean she should be left without anybody looking after her. I am going to call everybody I know in Nigeria.”
But reacting to the allegation, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, said: “In fact, I spoke with the husband of this woman. What the public don’t understand is that isolation ward is not a normal ward.
“People go into the isolation centre for the first time. It takes about one or two days to get used to an isolation ward. In a normal ward, you see people walking around and they greet you and you greet them but in an isolation ward, you are isolated.
“It is where a person wears N70, 000 outfits, she only wears it once. People come in two or three times a day. Patients in the wards are usually a bit confused the first day or two until they get to understand that they cannot get to see their health providers as often as if they were in a normal ward.
“That is why we give them a lot of psychological support to adjust to that environment. I don’t think this family understands it. Within days, they will begin to get used to it and fraternize with their fellow patients, make friends and when they are discharged, they are happy and give so many testimonies.”
Inmates protest in Kaduna
In another development, inmates of Kaduna Correctional Centre yesterday embarked on protest for fear of COVID-19 pandemic.
The protest prompted adherents of Shi’ites to raise concern over the plight of their leader in the correctional facility, Sheikh Ibrahim Yakubu El-Zakzaky.
However, Vanguard learned that the protest was quelled by the authorities, but not without a casualty.
“Some of the centre officers had it rough while trying to restore order,” said a source.
The source said those injured in the fracas are receiving medical attention.
Controller of the centre, Mohammed Babangida, who confirmed the protest, said the situation was now under control.
However, members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, led by Zakzaky, said they were deeply worried over the safety and security of their leader in the correctional centre.
The group in a statement by president of its Media Forum, Ibrahim Musa, said: “Credible reports emanating from the Kaduna Correctional Centre, where the government is wrongly detaining Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife has reached the Islamic Movement in Nigeria of a turmoil leading to the opening of fire and blocking of all access roads to the centre.
“We are rightly concerned about these developments and we strongly call on all relevant authorities to ensure that the security and safety of the Sheikh and his wife are guaranteed.
“We would hold the Federal Government responsible for any harm to them. It is the responsibility of government to protect all inmates in such homes, especially with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world, especially as the law presumes all to be innocent until proven otherwise by a law court.
“The case of Sheikh Zakzaky in particular, is quite different, where a Federal High Court had declared his arrest and detention as unconstitutional and a violation of his fundamental rights. “Furthermore, the charges for which he is standing trial at the moment have been punctured by two different courts which tried nearly 200 members on the same charges and discharged and acquitted them all. We demand the immediate release of the Sheikh and his wife.”
NCDC announces 4 fresh cases
Also yesterday, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC, announced another four new cases of coronavirus in Nigeria, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 135.
This is, however, exclusive of a fresh and third case declared by Bauchi State government yesterday.
“Four new cases of #COVID19 have been reported in Nigeria; three in Osun and one in Ogun. As at 11:15 am 31st March there are 135 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria with 2 deaths.
“For a breakdown of cases by states in real time, Lagos- 81; FCT- 25; Ogun- 4; Enugu- 2; Ekiti- 1; Oyo- 8; Edo- 2; Bauchi- 2; Osun-5; Rivers-1; Benue- 1; Kaduna- 3,” the NCDC stated on its official twitter handle yesterday.
Bauchi locks down, lists another case
Similarly, Bauchi State Government has imposed a 14-day lockdown on the state to check the spread of coronavirus.
Secretary to the State Government, Sabi’u Baba, who disclosed this in a statement yesterday, said: “His Excellency, Bala Mohammed, the Executive Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, has imposed a 14-day lock-down on Bauchi.
“While he appreciates the sacrifices of the public in these agonizing times, he has directed that in order for the public to secure food items, movement is allowed between 1am and 4pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The ban does not, however, affect essential services.’’
The lock-down, according to him, takes effect from Thursday, April 2, 2020.
Meanwhile, another person has tested positive for corona virus according to Deputy Governor, Baba Tela.
Tela, who is also chairman, Task Force Committee on COVID-19, said the undisclosed victim is a 55-year-old man.
Nyanya residents lament lock-down effects
Meanwhile, residents of Nnyanya, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT Abuja, observing the lock-down ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari, following the coronavirus outbreak in the country, yesterday lamented the effect of staying at home.
The ever-busy Nyanya-Mararaba Road which leads to Abuja city on one hand and Keffi,in Nasarawa State on the other hand, was almost empty as only a handful of vehicles and tricycles, otherwise known as Keke, were seen plying the road.
Nyanya and Mararaba markets were not left out as only a few persons selling foodstuffs were seen. Traders selling items other than essential commodities were not allowed to open shops.
Security men, comprising men of the Nigeria Police ,Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps,NSCDC, Federal Road Safety Corps were seen at various check points on the road.
The security personnel were seen enforcing the stay-at-home order and checking the identities of the few persons who were seen driving on the road.
Hotels, bars, restaurants, among other social event centres, were seen without activities but this was not so in some interior parts of the area as most places selling foods and alcoholic drinks were seen operating, with people patronising them.
Shops located along the highway were shut as their owners stayed at home to observe the lock-down order. It was not different at Kugbo Mechanic Market as traders stayed at home.
Mr Romanus Anya, a spare parts dealer at the market but who was seen at the entrance of the market, lamented that life was hard for him and his family, given that he did not save to prepare for the stay-at- home order.
He faulted government for not informing people well ahead of time on its plan, so people could stock their houses with food items.
“I was not prepared for this because I emptied my pocket just a day to the closure of this market. I used all my money to stock my shop without saving anything. If I had known that we would face this, I wouldn’t have done this,” he lamented.
Another Nyanya resident, Patrick Ibiàm, who deals in second-hand clothes, told Vanguard that life was gradually becoming unbearable for him and his family in the few hours the lock-down had lasted.
He wondered how he would survive with his family, if the lock-down was observed beyond one week.
“We appeal to government to cushion the effect of this hardship by providing palliatives for the citizens.
“We appeal to President Muhammad Buhari to borrow a leaf from the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, who had since rolled out palliatives for US citizens,” he added.
Lagos residents comply with lock-down order
In Lagos, corporate organisations and banks yesterday closed for business in compliance with the 14 days lockdown directive of the President.
However, business activities at the Lagos ports continued yesterday with Customs officials attending to agents and importers, while some petrol stations also opened to customers.
But some residents who spoke to Vanguard lamented the impact of the lockdown order on their livelihood appealing to government to come to their aid by providing support to cushion the economic losses.
Columbus Arase, who resides in Isase community of Ojo Local Government (LGA), said: “It is painful that in other climes government made provision for their people, but here nobody is thinking of helping out. It is very unfortunate. Do you know that there are some persons that do not have N1,000 before this lock-down order and they have children? Hhow do you expect them to survive two weeks without food? It is terrible.”
Another resident, a retired federal civil servant, Pa Idrisu Ajani said: “Pensioners are the worst hit by this lockdown. Where do I get money to stock food for me and my household? Government has failed in its responsibility to look after the aged in the society and it is a sad situation.”
Njoku Amechi, a trader, and a resident of Isasi said: “We all will like to remain at home to stay safe from the pandemic, but on what ground would a trader who will spend his principal and profit in two weeks to feed the family? Where will I get enough money to fill my shop if I am spending what I have to feed my family in two weeks? That is why you see me here, waiting for customers.”
Also lamenting, Mrs.Oyema at Ile-Epo community, along Lagos-Badagry Expressway, said business is bad as customers stayed indoors in compliance with the lock-down.
“I came outside to trade as well as look for my daily bread for the family. Unfortunately, I have been outside but with little or no patronage.
“The only businesses operating are those street sellers. The fear of the military personnel patrolling the areas might have prevented more Nigerians from coming out.
“We appeal to the Federal Government to make provisions for the common man who cannot afford things and survive this lock-down.”
Still in Lagos, residents of Iba new site and environs in Ojo Local Government Area (LGA) of Lagos State complied with the lock-down order of the Federal Government as most business activities around that axis were grounded to a halt.
The few provision shops and stores that opened for business are those owned by people who also reside in the same property.
However some petrol stations were opened for business while patronage by consumers has been on the increase as power supply has declined considerably.
While there was little or no vehicular movement on the Lagos-Badagry expressway, police officers were seen at various locations questioning motorist on the road.
In Surulere, businesses situated in the Surulere LGA of Lagos State were closed yesterday in compliance to the lockdown order of the Federal Government.
Vanguard also observed full compliance by commercial banks as none of the banks opened for business. Though the banks’ Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) were functional, few or no customers were observed using the ATMs in most of the banks visited.
A visit to the usually busy Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping mall revealed that full compliance with the exception of food section and a pharmacy store which opened for business. Also some eateries opened for business but with very low patronage.
At the Ijeshatedo axis of Surulere LGA, the police were seen enforcing the stay at home order as some youths were seen on some streets playing football, while major shops and businesses were closed.
The policemen chased the youth away from the streets to their houses, saying gathering of people of more than 25 is not permitted in Lagos State.
Vanguard also observed low vehicular movement from the Ijesha bus stop to Mile 2 bus stop on the Apapa Oshodi Expressway. Though there were some private vehicles, tankers and trailers plying the road, no commercial vehicles were seen as at 2pm when this report was filed in.
It was total compliance yesterday at Satelite town, Amuwo Odofin LGA of Lagos State, as all shops and banks were under lock and key.
The major food stuff markets at both Agboju, Abule-Ado and Ijegun were all empty.
Customers at the banks visited by our correspondent conducted their transactions via ATMs. The few petrol stations around the neighbourhood were open for business, but there were no customers in sight.
When Vanguard visited some of the petrol stations, the attendants were seen sitting idly around.
Badagry and environs
Businesses and companies in communities along the Lagos-Badagry expressway, namely, Agbara, Magbon, Oko-Afo, Ile-Epo, down to Badagry did not open yesterday, but small scale businesses like provision stores and food vendors were seen operating inside the streets of these areas.
In Olodi-Apapa, Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government Area, there was total compliance with the lock-down directive.
At petrol stations in the areas, there were queues of both motorists and individuals buying fuel in jerry cans.
Prices of foodstuffs rose significantly, with consumers lamenting the sudden rise. However, it was a different scenario yesterday as noted organisations, commercial centres, and hotels closed for business.
Vanguard observed youths playing football on the roads in most of the communities.
Commercial vehicles also deserted the roads, a situation that forced medical workers, individuals on special assignment to walk to their place of work.