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Sixty days after the Ogun state governor, Dapo Abiodun declared a total lockdown of the state on weekends, many residents have begun to defy the order as activities have resumed in every part of state which has made the weekend lockdown no more effective, Sodiq Ojuroungbe writes.
The Governor had on May 28, 2020 discontinued with the week days lockdown in the state and introduced weekends lockdown in the state.
Governor Abiodun while addressing newsmen on the update of COVID-19 held at his Oke-Mosan office said there would not be restriction of movement between Mondays and Fridays except on Saturdays and Sundays.
PLATFORM TIMES observed that apart from the governor announcing weekend’s lockdown, he did not give any reason than the COVID-19 is still very much in the state and there is community spread of the disease.
Following this directive by the governor, many residents of the state including major stakeholders have questioned the rationale behind the weekends’ lockdown introduced by Abiodun.
So many questions like; does COVID-19 now circulate during weekends were raised , but there was no one to give reasons for the weekend lockdown.
Findings by PLATFORM TIMES in the last nine weeks the weekends’ lockdown started in the state showed that there was partial or no compliance with the directive of the governor.
It was observed that people living in the border areas like Sango, Ijebu, Ipokia were unperturbed about the weekends’ lockdown as activities in those places were like it used to be during the week days.
It was however observed that the people in Abeokuta, the state capital were the ones that obeyed the weekends’ lockdown in the first five weeks.
But, recent findings showed that the weekends’ lockdown is no more effective both at the state capital and every other part of the state as activities have resumed in many location across the state on weekends despite the insistence of the state government that the weekend lockdown continues.
PLATFORM TIMES observed that while some shops now operate during weekends in the state, motorcycles, cabs have resumed operation fully during the weekends’ lockdown.
A visit to many check points showed that even the security operatives have turned the weekends’ lockdown to an avenue where they can exploit the people of the state.
Our reporter who travelled from Abeokuta to Sango area of the state during the weekends’ lockdown observed that many of the security operatives collect bribes between N200 and above from drivers and allow them move freely without any disturbance.
This reporter also observed that interstate buses are working and people are being transported from Ogun state to every other part of the country on weekends despite the weekend lockdown .
When PLATFORM TIMES reporter also took a vehicle from Abeokuta to Sagamu, it was observed that there was no compliance with the lockdown directives in the eastern part of the state.
A visit to Iperu which is the hometown of the governor showed that the people of the area were going on with their activities like the normal days as there was no indication that there was any lockdown in the state.
In the same vein, many residents in the state have started complaining about the continuous weekends lockdown of the state, describing it as ‘baseless and unnecessary’.
The residents insisted that the lockdown in the state does not stop people from getting the virus.
They opined that the continuous lockdown showed the governor is allegedly ‘clueless’ on how to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
They stressed that Lagos that is the epicenter of the virus has suspended lockdown both during week days and weekends.
The residents who spoke with PLATFOM TIMES lamented that the continuous weekend’s lockdown is affecting their business. They claimed the many activities have been put on hold because of the weekend lockdown.
Speaking with the Iyaloja of Iberekodo, Mrs. Monsurat Mustapha, she complained that the weekend lockdown has spoilt the activities of many markets in the state ,adding that there is no longer market days during weekends.
She said, “It is not easy to cope since we resume back to market. We have been struggling to at least get money that we can use to feed our families.
“Normally, people always come here in large numbers every five days, but since COVID-19 came, we have not been having that because we are always on lockdown on weekends.
“Our lives have not remained the same since this COVID-19 palava and there is no assurance that it can ever remain the same even if the virus leaves today.”
Also, a resident identified as Boladale Adeoye insisted that the continuous lockdown of the state showed the governor is ‘clueless on how to tackle COVID-19’.
He said, “I laugh when I discovered that there is still weekend lockdown in Ogun state. Even Lagos that is the epicenter of the disease has since suspended lockdown, but Ogun keeps locking people up every weekend.
“The governor is clueless on how to combat coronavirus that is the reason behind this continuous lockdown that is baseless.”
Similarly, the state chairman of NNPP, Olaposi Oginni has tackled the Governor on the continuous weekend lockdown in the state despite relaxing the week days lockdown.
Oginni who doubled as the state chairman of Inter-Party Advisory Council, insisted that the continuous weekend lockdown in the state is baseless with no justification.
He maintained that the continuous weekend showed that the state government lacks ideas on how to tackle the pandemic that is spreading across the state.
Oginni stressed that the continuous weekend lockdown shows that the government is not concerned about the economic loss of the state.
He noted that there is need for the state government to find an alternative strategy to combat the pandemic in the state.
He further said, “it is our belief that the continuous weekend lockdown by Governor Dapo Abiodun clearly shows that the government has run out of ideas. Because Lagos state is the epicenter of COVID-19, while even at the Federal Capital that is also in the epicenter of COVID-19 in Nigeria, they have ease lockdown looking for alternative.
“Governor of Lagos state has shown a kind of a class, thinking outside the box to look at how better to combat this dreadful pandemic. But, it is unfortunate that in Ogun state, the continue lockdown that is annoying shows that even the government do not care about the economic loss of the state.
“He needs to look at the way out, thinking out of box and look at alternative on how to combat the disease if truly with the all the figures they are parading for us.
“We cannot continue with this and we want to tell him that he should stop locking the people of Ogun state down every weekend, he should look for alternative.
“We are going to tell everybody that concerned in this country to talk to him to sit down and think outside the box. If those of his people are short of ideas, we are ready to offer them alternative. If they don’t know what to do with government, New Nigeria People’s Party as a political party that is ready to take over government can tell them what to do.”
Also, the Ogun State chapter of the African Action Congress has condemned what it described as unnecessary lockdown in the state.
The party declared that the lockdown during weekends was directionless and senseless.
The Secretary of AAC in the state, Ifemosu Michael Adewale asked the Governor to look for alternative health measures instead of the lockdown.
Adewale said, “it is disheartening and unfortunate that in Ogun State, the continued lockdown shows that even the government does not care about the economic implications on the state.
“The governor should stop locking the people of Ogun State down every weekend; he should look for alternative health measures.”