As the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing becomes highly necessary, many Nigerians have raised concerns over how the new measure can be effectively implemented especially with the nation’s huge population.
In cities like Lagos State with an estimated population of over 20 million people, the questions on the lips of many revolve around “how to effectively implement social distancing, how to go to the market or how to commute from place to place without having body contact with people” – a task considered as almost impossible by many.
As the government makes frantic efforts to curb the spread of the virus, people have simply been advised to stay at home and limit their contacts with people.
But although restrictions have gradually been put in place in some places, activities across the country have not been completely shut down, leaving individuals and private business owners at liberty to go about their businesses.
So far, markets, as well as the public transport system currently prove to be one of the highest risk points but the Lagos State government has assured residents that steps are being taken to minimise such risks.
“We’ve had conversations with the heads of our markets from the Iya-oloja general to all of the market men and women and part of the things we have said to them is that they need to scale up their advocacy immediately,” the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said during a statewide address on Sunday.
“They must ensure that even when people come to the market, they obey this self-isolation so today, we’ve called them and we’ve passed on this message to them.
“The commissioner for local government and chieftaincy has also been directed to go round again tomorrow”.
Speaking about the transport system, the governor noted that officials of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) had been instructed to ensure that the BRT buses which have a capacity of 47 passengers, should only carry sitting passengers.
“At the various bus stops and buses, like I mentioned to you on Friday, we are working with the NURTW to ensure that it is only sitting passengers that are carried.
“People should not be standing on those buses. It has a capacity of 47 passengers, that is the maximum and it stays within our limit of 50 people in a gathering which keeps it safe and secure,” the governor said.
Earlier on in his address, he had announced a stay-at-home order for all public officers from Grade level 1 to 12 over the next 14 days as part of precautions to curb the spread of the virus.
According to him, once this is implemented, considering the fact that public officers make up over 70% of the entire public workforce, it significantly reduces the number of people on the roads to start with.
“If I can stop over 70% of my staff from coming to work, it means that I have taken a sizeable number off the roads,” the governor said.