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How COVID-19 lockdown affects Abuja residents

By Taofeek Lawal

…residents urge FG, FCTA to fix dilapidated roads

…security personnel allegedly extort motorists

It is no more news that Coronavirus (COVID-19) has ravaged the global community with its attendant casualties which is more than 100,000. What started as a child’s play in Wuhan China is now a global pandemic that threatens human existence, Nigeria inclusive.

To forestall the spread of the disease, Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, on March 30, 2020, announced a two-week total lockdown of Ogun State, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja and Lagos State, the epicenter of Covid-19 in Nigeria. Ogun, FCT and Lagos are home to almost 30 million Nigerians. On Monday, April 13, 2020, President Buhari in a nationwide broadcast announced the extension of the lockdown for another two weeks.

It has been two weeks of tough, rough and trying times for Nigerians especially those in the FCT whose major population consists of artisans, traders and business people who only survives on daily sales as means of sustenance and livelihood. All the markets in Abuja have been under lock and key and the palliatives promised by the Federal Government have not been forthcoming although the residents are still expectant.

Residents, who spoke to Global Upfront Newspapers while lauding the Presidency for the steps it is taking to stem the spread of Covid-19 in the country, asked President Buhari to use the period of the lockdown extension to reach out to them through foodstuffs, money and other provisions as it is being done in advanced countries of the world.

“We want to appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari and his team to be a true father to all Nigerians and reach out to us through to survive amidst this Coronavirus lockdown. We have been hearing about palliatives for residents by the government but we are yet to get any in the last two weeks. We want to hail the president for the steps taking so far on Covid-19 but you media people should continue to tell the president that Nigerians are hungry because we don’t have anywhere to go. We have exhausted our savings and our food bank is going down too. President Buhari should please help us to reduce high crime rate in the FCT as a result of the lockdown.

Meanwhile, the residents have called on the Federal Government and the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to use the lockdown period to fix some dilapidated roads in the metropolis and especially the Abuja-Keffi Expressway that link the FCT to Nasarawa State.

The Abuja-Keffi Expressway, according to this newspaper’s observation, is in a state of disrepair and potential death traps for motorists plying the road. The residents called on the government not to wait until a high profile Nigerian or top government official loses his life on the road before something urgent is done.

Some motorists also informed the newspaper about alleged extortion by security personnel from them along the checkpoints leading to the city centre and which they want the FCTA Task Force to look into.

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