Lockdown occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic is disrupting economy at different scales across the globe with several income-yielding activities being at their lowest ebb.
While big firms have devised some models like allowing their workers to work from home to cushion the effect of the shutdown, hundreds of small businesses have been brought to a standstill, leaving the operators in lack.
The President, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), ordered a 14-day movement restriction in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to curb the spread of coronavirus.
A food vendor at Ogba, Lagos, Mrs Kudirat Adebisi, reflects the dark side of this trying time. The 42-year-old woman has been enduring strenuous means to feed her family since March 31 as the Federal Government’s lockdown order took effect in the state.
The little profit she realises from her daily sales is what she, her three children and visually-impaired husband, have been living on in the last four years. She is the pillar the family leans on and never shies away from the burden that comes with it.
But the challenge has become weighty since she suspended her business about two weeks ago due to the distance from her home in the Abule Egba area of the state to the shop.
“I sell rice and have to go to market every day to buy ingredients. Since commercial buses are not allowed to operate, it is difficult for me to go to shop even though government allows food vendors and those on essential services to operate,” she stated in Yoruba.
Having to stay at home with a husband and three children to cater for portends a serious financial distress for Adebisi. The family has been feeding on her small capital and she couldn’t wait for the lockdown to end so she could reinvest the remainder of the money to keep the family running.
“The money I use for my food business is not up to N20,000. The little gain I make daily is what my family and I survive on,” she disclosed.
“My husband cannot work because of his condition so I shoulder all the responsibilities. We have been spending from the capital with little support from generous neighbours. I didn’t get any relief food item from government as promised,” the woman added.
Adebisi’s plight typifies what many Nigerians whose survival hinges on daily income have been going through amid the lockdown caused by COVID-19 which has killed 10 persons and sickened 318 people in the country as of Saturday.
Like Adebisi, Mrs Bimpe Isaac, a food seller on Sule Abore Street, Ojodu, has been confined to her residence in Alagbole (a neigbouring community in Ogun State) in recent days. She has been a strong support base for her electrician husband to ensure they put food on the table for themselves and their four kids.