May 9, 2020

COVID-19: Nigerians shun social distancing

COVID-19: Nigerians  shun social distancing

Crowded Computer village inside by Otigba street, compulsory of Nose masks with out Social Distancing, as Lagos state government easing lockdown, after Federal Government of Nigeria Six weeks lockdown of Lagos, Ogun state and FCT, Photo: Bunmi Azeez

 Computer village Lagos

At the onset of coronavirus pandemic, some measures recommended by the relevant authorities to halt its spread included frequent washing of hands with soap and water, using face masks and observing social or physical distancing that requires one to be at least one meter away from the next person. Many Nigerians in rural areas and city suburbs can’t easily access running water  to wash hands with soap regularly, hundreds of thousands are still not wearing face masks in public and observing social distancing among the populace seems a tall order to obey. At the markets, bus stops, motor parks and even in banks, residents could just not be bothered about observing physical distancing as they thronged together.

It appeared the residents believed that aspect of the preventive measures could only be practiced in Europe and America. This development is however unfortunate as community transmission of the virus has already set in. Some of the governors were alarmed at this attitude of the residents and directed implementation of stricter measures to enforce physical distancing.


By Dayo Johnson, Akure.

Residents of Ondo state were not obeying the social distancing in markets, bus stops, motor parks, banks and other places across the state. Consequently, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who was alarmed at the development has directed the implementation of stricter and tighter measures to enforce it. He therefore banned daily major and community market activities across the state. According to the governor, “daily experiences of mindless disregard for social distancing in our markets and commercial places beat one’s imagination as to why, in spite of evidences of danger and government’s daily appeal, our people still insist on endangering their own lives and those of their families as well as their loved ones. A drive through Oja Oba, Isinkan, Oluwatuyi and Iloro markets in Akure the State capital, paints a sad picture of an open invitation to the deadly COVID–19, to expand its spread limitlessly among us. Same is the case in similar places at other city centres in the State. This is regrettable and unacceptable. It must be reversed immediately with all urgency and attention possible. Without doubt, if we fail to heed the simple, sensitive and sensible directive to save our own lives, no one but we will face the grave consequences.

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By Ola Ajayi, Ibadan

Majority of residents in Ibadan, Oyo State capital appeared to be lackadaisical about all the precautionary measures against COVID-19. Traders and buyers in major markets were not using nose masks or observe social distancing. In markets like Dugbe, Sango, Eleyele, Mokola, Bodija, few people were seen wearing their nose masks. Saturday Vanguard also observed that majority of commercial motorcyclists, and almajiris at Eleyele and Mokola roundabout were moving freely without any preventive measures.


By Shina Abubakar, Osogbo

With the ease of the lockdown in Osun state, residents thronged major markets as well as banks for various transactions without considering the social distancing measures. Even when Governor Adegboyega Oyetola visited the ever busy Igbonna market in the state capital to enlighten market women and buyers on the significance of social distancing and living good hygienic life to curb community transmission of coronavirus, many residents seemed not to be concerned. The situation was similar at the markets in Ikirun, Ilesa, Ife, Iragbiji, Ifon, as well as banks, where customers, though observed the use of face mask, were always queuing without observing social distancing.


By James Ogunnaike Abeokuta

In Ogun State, many residents failed to observe social distancing. At the banks, markets and motor parks, many residents displayed nonchalant attitude towards government directives to maintain social distancing and wearing of face mask as they went about their normal business activities. All the banks that opened for businesses across the state were besieged by customers, who were crowded at the banks’ premises without observing the social distancing directive. Some of the banks mounted canopies for their customers, with some of them staying in the sun waiting for their turn to go into the banking halls. Motorists, especially the intercity drivers did not observe social distancing as most of them still had their full load of passengers while neither the drivers nor the passengers wore face mask.


By Rotimi Ojomoyela- Ado – Ekiti

In Ekiti State, the total lockdown was recently eased by the state government to allow for free movement on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, to enable people restock. Only 50,000 out of a population of almost 3 million were on government employment and formal sector of the state’s economy, while the rest were in informal sector, living on daily wage. The effect of the lockdown had been so hard on them. Those who spoke with Vanguard, were however optimistic that once the spread of the deadly disease has been put under control, life would return to normalcy.


By Umar Yusuf, Adamawa
In Adamawa, the residents refused to observe social distancing especially in markets and other public places and this has provoked Governor Ahmadu Fintiri to close down all the International Cattle markets in the state which generated protests from some areas, like Mubi and Ganye.


By Peter Duru, Makurdi
Despite the concerted efforts of the Benue state government to ensure that the people observed social distancing as part of the safety measures against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic the people of the state were not obeying the directives in motor parks, banks and bus stops. Even after the government shutdown markets in the state, traders resorted to carrying out their daily businesses outside the markets where social distancing was also not observed. Social distancing was only strictly observed during government functions.


Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
Bayelsa was one of the few states in the federation to have recorded low coronavirus cases as the index case and four members of her family infected were responding to treatment at the NDUTH isolation centre ostensibly because of the series of preventive measures put in place by the state government and the maintenance of social distancing at market places where only foodstuff sellers were allowed to trade. The main motor park at Ekeki in Yenagoa, the state capital was under lock and key in the wake of the lockdown.


Wole Mosadomi-Minna.

Social distancing had already become a sing song as preached by the state government to all the residents in Niger State as one of the ways to curb the spread of the coronavirus but rather than comply with the directive, the people deliberately flouted the order mostly in the banks and in the markets especially since there was no enforcement. Also, a lot of people attach religious sentiments to the pandemic thereby making most people to ignore the directive.


By Marie-Therese Nanlong
There was nothing like social distancing in Plateau state because each time the total lockdown was relaxed for people to re-stock their homes, the crowds surged in the markets, at the ATM points and at bank premises as customers lined up to go into the banking halls. There have always been manageable crowds at the motor parks as inter and intra state journeys have been banned and as there were no designated bus stops in the state, passengers always stood along the roads to be picked by commercial vehicles.


By Abdul Mumin Giwa
The level of compliance with measures to keep coronavirus at bay by residents of Kano metropolis, made up of eight local government areas, was very poor as they refused to observe social distancing while very few people were using face masks.


By Festus Ahon & Paul Olayemi
In Delta, majority of residents of the state were not complying with the social distancing directive, especially in market places, motor parks and bank premises. The markets and banks in Asaba were always crowded with buyers and seller. The banks were not left out as customers loitered the premises either to enter the banking hall or to use the ATM machine. The situation was the same at the motor parks. In Sapele, it was obvious that the people were still ignorant of the dangers of not using face mask or observing social distancing. In markets, bus stops and even banks and vehicles, the residents stuck close to each other including the security personnel who were expected to enforce it.


By Charly Agwam

In Bauchi, although residents have been advised to observe social distancing in order to contain the spread of the virus, they ignored this directive. Last Monday when the lockdown was lifted to allow residents to restock food and other household items, Saturday Vanguard noticed that people went about their businesses, indifferent to social distancing. The most notable was the flagrant disregard for the state government order that Keke Napep tricycle commercial operators should not carry more that two passengers at a time as they were seen carrying three to four passengers.


By Nasir Danfulani

There was no compliance with social distancing in Zamfara as places like petrol stations, motor parks, shopping centers and at ATM points within Gusau metropolis were always crowded with people.

Akwa Ibom

By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo

In Akwa Ibom state, majority of the residents were not obeying the government directive on social distancing as crowds in market places, sitting arrangements in mini buses, tricycles remained the same and this was due to the generally held opinion that COVID-19 was a scam and a disease of the rich class.


By Ibrahim Hassan

In Kaduna state, although congestion has reduced in some motor parks as fewer people were travelling, the situation was different at the markets across the state which was why the state government blocked entry into major markets in the state capital and major towns. The Abubakar Gumi market, Kaduna as well as Kawo market in Kaduna North were shut because the people did not observe social distancing. The government therefore introduced neighborhood markets where social distancing was expected to be observed by the residents.


By Femi Bolaji, Jalingo

The social distancing directive was not being complied with by residents of Taraba state especially at the markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays which the state government allowed for both human and vehicular movement. There were fears of escalation in the number of the cases of COVID-19 if precautionary measures were not adhered to, as most residents still refused to wear face masks.


By Vincent Ujumadu

The fact that Anambra State so far recorded only one controversial cononavirus case that had since been discharged had made many people to have the impression that the virus was not in the state and so, the rule on social distancing was not strictly obeyed. People still crowded together in the markets, on the streets and at every social gathering. However, some residents responded intuitively by maintaining social distancing when reminded of the government regulation, only to cluster together again within a short time. The business for the face masks was however booming for those who have made it a serious business.

Cross River

By Ike Uchechukwu, Calabar

In Cross River, obeying the directive on social distancing depended on the area and the time of the day. Those staying at government restricted areas in the metropolis strictly maintained social distancing. In the markets, a lot of people wore face masks but ignored the social or physical distancing because many people would come out to buy things when they felt the coast was clear and there was no COVID-19 task force team to harass them. The only directive which the residents were still complying with was the “no face mask no movement”.


By Chinenye Ozor, Ugochukwu Alaribe, Chinedu Adonu, Chimaobi Nwaiwu & Ikechukwu Odu

The residents of Enugu were not observing the social distancing even in such places as bus stops, motor parks and markets. This did not go down well with the Enugu State Government which warned against the violation. The Commissioner for Information, Nnanyelugo Chidi Aroh had frowned at the disregard for social distancing at Ogbete main market last week when the Government allowed the traders to open few sections of the market. Aroh had said that “the State Government is seriously concerned about the implications of this breach to the overall health and safety of the citizens of Enugu in this critical period of the COVID-19 Pandemic” and warned the leadership of the market “to strictly abide by the conditions for the partial and guided opening of the market as the State Government will act swiftly to protect the health and safety of the people of Enugu in the event of any further breach of the conditions”.

Onitsha and Nnewi

Residents of Onitsha and Nnewi obeyed the directive of wearing face masks but failed to observe the social distancing recommendation especially in the markets and other public places. Also, in all the banks located in Onitsha and Nnewi customers were kept crowded for hours before they were attended to. At the bus stops and motor parks, residents neither wore face masks nor observed social distancing.

The government directive on social distancing was being fully observed in the university town of Nsukka, Enugu state. Saturday Vanguard observed that there was total compliance with the use of face masks at the banks, police stations, bus stops. Markets and churches in the town were still under lock and key on the directive of the state government. People however still clustered in banks and other places with face masks without observing the social distancing directive.

There was no compliance with the directive of the government on social distancing in Abia state. In Aba and Umuahia cities, residents clustered at bus stops, food shops, banks and motor parks in defiance of the directive on social distancing. Saturday Vanguard also observed that some buses and tricycle operators carried more than the specific number of passengers. A tricycle operator said, “We should be allowed to carry four passengers. Government has directed us to carry two passengers, but Police now collects N100 per trip, leaving us with N100”.


By Ozioruva Aliu

In Edo State, social distancing was not maintained in all cases. Many commercial drivers carried more than the prescribed two persons per row of seat and one person with the driver.