Barely 48 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari announced a 14-day shutdown of business, economic and social activities in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja to slow down the exposure of Nigerians to the coronavirus pandemic, some residents of Lagos have threatened to protest if they do not receive any palliative from the government within two days.
The residents made the threat in footage currently circulating on social media. In the footage, there is a heated argument between the residents and officials of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) who had gone to their neighbourhood to ensure the residents were complying with the lockdown.
The LNSC officials were members of the Lagos Special Taskforce on COVID-19.
The residents complained that the government ordered the lockdown without providing palliative to help them cope through the period of the lockdown. They also complained about the poor power supply and wondered how the government expected them to survive during the lockdown.
“We are hungry. No food. No light. How do they want us to stay inside? No money, no food, what should we eat?, voices in the background said.
“I have a question. You are saying we should stay indoor but the indoor you are asking us to stay do you know there is no food for us. There is nothing they provide for us. They said 14 days. Fourteen days is not a day and there is no money, no food,” someone behind the camera asked the LRU officials.
An LNSC official responded saying if the residents wanted the government to release everyone so that the virus can continue to spread.
“No,” responded the resident.
“I never said so. They said social distance. But we are telling you from now to two days we would come out to protest if they did not send any money of food to us. We would protest. We would protest. We are giving you two day. We would protest in two days time.
“We want you to deliver our message in two days time we would protest. We can’t stay indoor for hunger. In two days we would protest in two days. We’ve heard you but in two days we would protest.
“They did not pay us any money. They did not give us food. Our children are there they said we should stay indoor for what reason. Tomorrow we are going to protest. Our children are hungry and you say we should stay indoors. For what reason. You didn’t give us money. You didn’t give us anything and you want us to stay indoors.”
The Lagos State government had promised to provide palliatives in the form of food items to the most vulnerable population in the state.
However, the state distribution process is riddled with inefficiency with several residents accusing officials of hoarding the supplies, sharing them among members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), or distributing them in a crowded atmosphere, which defeats the social distancing the state government is preaching.
During his nationwide broadcast on Sunday night, President Muhammadu Buhari also promised to provide ‘relief materials’ for Abuja and Lagos residents during the 14-day lockdown.