“Why we want businesses and worship centres reopened”
On March 30, 2020 President Muhammadu Buhari announced a sweeping quarantine for Lagos, Ogun and Abuja in a bid to slow down the spread of the deadly covid-119 pandemic. The lockdown ensured that only essential businesses provided skeletal services while non-essential businesses, religious centres and social gatherings were completely shut down. On May 4, when the government eased the lockdown, nonessential services and worship centres remained closed. In this issue, Nigerians who spoke to Chuks NZEH and Williams ABAH gave reasons for reopening.
ADAH GODWIN: For me, reopening markets and religious centres is necessary. Even with the partial lockdown in place people are still violating safety rules. Go to the neighbourhood markets and see. People don't observe any of this guidelines put in place by the government.
In fact, it is only God that is helping us. Any gathering where people are many is not safe at this time. If you check, countries that have reopened took serious measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic. Here we take everything for granted, if not the spread of this virus would have been reduced to the barest minimum.
We all know how worship centres used to be. If government reopens them now, people could come from different places to worship in any location of their choice. This may be people that nobody knows their travel history. And because there is no massive quarantine, and contact tracing, as it was done in other countries, it may likely lead to increase in the spread of the virus.
CHIDI NWAFOR: If traders of non-essential commodities are allowed to reopen I would be the happiest person. For the past two months, I have not opened my shop. Although I'm still scared because Covid-19 is still much around. I know businesses have been down across the country, but life is wealth.
Government should properly assess the situation and determine whether it is safe to reopen businesses. It is not enough to just reopen the markets and religions centres. If eventually markets and religious centres are reopened, effort must be made by various religious bodies and market leaders to ensure personal hygiene.
BEN UDU: Well, the lockdown is for our own good. No doubt, we are passing through a lot of challenges, but God knows our faith and understands the difficult times the entire world is going through. Notwithstanding, the idea of reopening religious centres and non-essential businesses is a good move.
Relaxing the guidelines for people to go about their normal businesses is not a big issue, but can they comply with measures that are still in place to checkmate the spread of the virus? As we speak, there are still confirmed cases emerging on daily basis.
Last Saturday, I was in Wuse Market and discovered that there was no hand washing bucket or sanitizer at the entrance of the market. Also, people were not observing social distancing. Others were not putting on their facemasks. If government wants to fully reopen the markets and religious centres, there must be strict regulations to avoid being infected with the virus.
I suggest that if religious centres are to be reopened, they must provide disinfectants for their congregations. Also, Churches and Mosques, not spacious enough for their members to observe social-distancing should not reopen for now.
EDDY AHIATE: For me, there is nothing like non-essential commodities. As far as the business brings food to the table for someone, I consider it essential and very important. I suggest non- essential businesses should be considered for reopening because some people's livelihoods depend on them.
However, in doing this, necessary precautions such as social distancing, regular washing of hands with soap and water, use of face masks and alcohol based hand sanitizer among others, need to be taken.
Reopening of churches and mosques should still be on hold because that would be an avenue where people would contract the disease. I think religious centres should still be on hold for now till the numbers start dropping. And this will happen very soon. This unseen enemy is still spreading rapidly. The number infections and death rate doubles each day. So more precaution and wisdom is required.
IRENE CHIME: Traders of nonessential commodities should be allowed to reopen because their services are also needed. Most people are seriously in need of some nonessential commodities but cannot have access to them which is making lives so uncomfortable.
As you know, these traders are not salary earners. So it is not be easy for them and their families, especially as they have already stayed at home for a long time and expended the little resources they had. Consciously keeping them at home will aggravate the negative impact on the economy too. The traders have suffered immeasurable loses already starting from their shops and house rents, reopening in line with NCDC social distancing guidelines is better.
Opening of churches also is necessary. We cannot do anything without God, Nigeria is a praying nation. Worship centres should be eased a bit with precautionary measures. The ban on religious gathering for over six weeks is affecting individual and collective worship seriously.
© 2015 The Abuja Inquirer | Newspaper. Designed by G E Springfield