James Ogunnaike – Abeokuta

Following the gradual ease of the lockdown announced by President Muhammadu Buhari in Ogun State, residents of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on Monday, refused to observe social distancing and wearing of face masks order by the state government as they went about their normal business activities.

Visit by our correspondent to banks, markets, motor parks, revealed that many residents displayed a nonchalant attitude towards the directives of the state government to maintain social distancing and use of face mask as parts of measures to contain the spread and flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic.

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All the banks that opened for business across the state on Monday, 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, while customers stayed in the sun waiting for their turn to go into the banking hall to transact their businesses.

It would be recalled that the Ogun State government had earlier directed that all residents must compulsorily wear face masks when going out, saying that defaulters will be sent to isolation centres for 14 days and at the same time undergo community service.

Some of the residents who spoke to our correspondent on the wearing of face masks claimed ignorance of the directive, while others said they were still waiting to receive the face masks which the state government promised to give them.

It was however observed that some market women, ‘Okada’ riders, motorists, and few individuals complied with the face mask directive.

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The State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, while speaking to newsmen on Friday, disclosed that the government will distribute no fewer than one million face masks across the state to groups such as Market Women, Artisans, Transport Unions, Law Enforcement Agencies, Civil Servants and religious groups among others.

The governor, however, stated that everybody has a personal responsibility to procure and wear a face mask.

It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari while announcing the ease of lockdown, stated that his

the administration will strictly ensure the mandatory use of face masks or coverings in public, in addition to maintaining physical distancing and personal hygiene.

But it remains to be seen when and how the enforcement of the social distancing and face mask-wearing will be carried out.

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