Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Lockdown in Lagos

25 million people are placed on a two-week lockdown in parts of Nigeria in a bid to curtail the spread of coronavirus, poor people in congested neighbourhoods are worried about how they will cope. A lockdown in Lagos - the commercial hub of Nigeria, as well as the neighbouring state of Ogun and the capital Abuja - came into force on Monday night.

"From where do we get the extra water to wash the hands you are talking about," asked Debby Ogunsola. For Ms Ogunsula it will be difficult to remain indoors. She and her family live in one room in a block of 20, locally called Face-me-I-face-you because of their close proximity to each other. There is no electricity. Outside there were two toilets and bathrooms shared by all the families living in the 20 rooms. There is no pipe-borne water either in Alapere, and Ms Ogunsola is forced to walk more than 50 metres to a broken public water pipe for her supply.

"It's my children I am worried about," she said. "If I am not able to go out and sell, how will they survive?'' asked Ms Ogunsola, who earns money by selling fruit and vegetables by the roadside. "It is hunger I am worried about, not a virus."
But many Nigerians live hand-to-mouth, often on less than $1 (£0.80) and they cannot stock up on food or other essentials. Many workers are also yet to be paid their wages for March so there are deep concerns about the financial implications of a lockdown.
President Muhammadu Buhari outlined some measures to ease the hardship, including a one-month advance payment of the monthly $13 given to the poorest of the poor, but most people feel that millions of self-employed Nigerians have been left without financial aid.
"It's only those who have money that can buy now. If you do not have what can you do?" said a taxi driver parked outside a supermarket.

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