By Iduozee Paul, Benin
Since the coronavirus pandemic came to Nigeria, life has become miserable and a torment for more Nigerians, especially, those living on proceeds from daily income, the self-employed and people working in private firms.
Researchers have disclosed that almost 90 per cent of Nigerian citizens rely on daily income to feed and so survival under the present circumstance is possible only if they go out to work.
As the pandemic keeps on spreading in the nation, forcing,both federal and state governments to close boarders and businesses and other activities in the country, the economy has crumbled and majority of the population has lost its earning sources. The result is that many can no longer fend for their families.
Against this backdrop some nursing mothers and women in Edo State, groaning under existing difficulties, are lamenting over the devastating impacts of Covid-19 on their lives and families.
When National Point’s Edo State Correspondent visited some traders at the Oba Market in Benin, they said the pandemic has made life unbearable for them. According to Mrs. Osayi Grace, 35 years old, who sells Ice-block and cold mineral, since the lockdown started in the state, her business has recorded low patronage, taking more from her than is coming in.
Mrs. Osayi said: “For me, since Obaseki ordered partial lockdown, my business is not selling. Every day I use close to N500 to enter transport home. Most times, I don’t sell anything. I am praying that the virus should finish so that government can order the reopening of all businesses.”
Mrs. Lillian Adams, aged 27 years, a nursing mother, sells vegetables, mangoes, and other fruits. She lamented that since she put to bed, she and her family have not been feeding well. She said they used to eat two or three times a day, but now they find it difficult to feed even once a day.
“My brother, things are not easy since Covid-19 disease came out. We used to eat two or three times a day but at present, we find it difficult to feed once in a day. My husband, a welder cannot go to work because of this virus. We are praying that God should end the coronavirus,” the nursing mother lamented.
For Mrs. Olu Hope, another nursing mother, Covid-19 has affected the sale of the yams and plantains she sells in Oba Market. She said the small money she had in the bank has been spent.
Asked if she benefitted from the palliative measures that the state and local governments are distributing, the woman said no, pointing out that all they know about the government palliatives are through the media.
“Me, I do not know whether the state and local government are sharing food. Na, radio and television we de hear say and see government de share food.
“We still hear say government wan pay us small money to stay at home. Till now, we never see any money. Me I de beg government make them do whatever they can do to stop this virus. Hunger, pain, malnutrition and high transport fees, naim we de face every day. Many people they die everyday,” she lamented.
Mrs. Ojo Joy, pure water (sachet water) seller, blamed government for not being able to provide for the people. She complained of the high rate of transport fares. According to her, the small money she has in the bank could not be cashed because the accounts bear different names.
According to Mrs. Ojo Joy, hardship is telling on the family because her husband cannot go to work because of the lockdown which is affecting jobs. She appealed to governments at all levels come to their rescue.
“This coronavirus disease that came has caused so many problems in our trade. I used to sell more pure water when this virus had not come out,” she stated.
The woman said they are hoping to chase off the virus through prayers. “Our prayers every day is for God to wipe the disease away, ” she said.