Irate youths and other residents of Ibeju-Lekki in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, on Monday morning apparently sent signals to warn against a further extension of the lockdown by the Federal Government, when they trooped out in protest.
The protesters, who burnt used tires on the road, set ablaze trucks and some company vehicles that ran into their procession.
The lockdown in Lagos, Ogun, and the Federal Capital Territory is part of efforts to check the spread of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic, resulting in untold hardship especially among the huge army of daily wage workers, in the absence of any form of palliative to cushion effects.
While some of the youths carried placards pleading that the lockdown is stopped, others shouted at the top of their voices that the lockdown was a harbinger of hunger, as they are very hungry with their families.
Yusuf Olakunle, one of the placard-bearing youths, said the situation was already getting out of hand, as he relied on whatever sales he makes from his shop to feed his family.
He lamented that since the beginning of the lockdown, it has become very difficult to feed his family, noting that his wife is now 7 months pregnant.
Another protester, who works with one of the contractors in Dangote Petroleum Refinery, said feeding his wife, children, and siblings become difficult since it stopped work as a result of the Federal Government order.
“I am the breadwinner of my family and I am a welder who works with one of the contractors in Dangote refinery. But, since this lockdown began, I don’t have any work to do; hence there is no money to buy food for my family. I will rather be killed by the virus than die of hunger; the federal government should stop the lockdown,” he said.
Meanwhile the Onilekki of Lekki, Oba Olumuyiwa Liasimm Ogunbekun appealed to the youths to be calm and law-abiding as the country is going through tough times due to COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the Dangote Refinery still remains a major source of daily earnings for the community, as it continues to create jobs.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has advised the Federal Government to again extend the lockdown, to contain the rapid spread of the virus.
It warned that given the “exponential” rise in the number of cases recorded across the country daily, people should not see the lockdown as a punishment but a necessary measure to contain the spread of the deadly virus. It, however, stressed the need for fair distribution of the palliatives to cushion the hardship the restriction had caused Nigerians.