Residents of Mararaba in Nasarawa State have defied the stay-at-home and social distancing order by the State Government as they engaged in movements, buying and selling in the various markets located in the community.
Journalists visited the markets, including One-man village, Uke, Masaka and Autabaleefi, reports that buying and selling are going on without checks, thereby posing dangers to the residents.
This is in defiance to the state government directive prohibiting public gathering to curb the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus.
Similar visit by newsmen to some streets at Ado, Tafawa Balewa, Medical centre, Total, Gold and Akwa roads showed that the lockdown was completely ineffective as residents were seen going about their normal businesses.
Newsmen observed tight security checkpoints at Nyanya, the boundary between Nasarawa State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Security personnel were seen making efforts to ensure that motorists heading to and from the FCT complied with the preventive measures put in place to check the pandemic.
Medical personnel were also seen checking people’s temperature, while the security officers were regulating vehicular movements.
One of the medical officers told newsmen on condition of anonymity that the check has become imperative to detect anybody with high temperature for further test and treatment.
The officer said that doctors and other needed equipment, which included ambulances were on standby.
A commercial driver, Mr Dona Azubike, said: “It is not clear if Nasarawa Government is serious in enforcing the lockdown because the population in Maraba alone is alarming.
“There is little the security personnel can do because the people out numbered them.”
Mr Jude Emerola, a civil servant, appealed to the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to caution his officers and men against extortion and abuse of power while enforcing the COVID-19 lockdown orders.
He said there were so many vehicles on the roads because it is easy for some of the drivers to bribe their ways through.
“If they can stand firm and enforce the compliance, motorists would be off the roads while passengers will not be on the streets,” he said.
Emerola urged the law enforcement agencies to ensure that they adhere strictly to the orders issued by the government in order to stem the spread of the pandemic.
Mrs Felicia Onaje, a nurse, said that the instruction to public to avoid hand-shaking, stay home and wash their hands more regularly was ineffective.
She said a lot of Almajiris were still seen clustering round a tray of food eating together.
“You see a lot of people doing the traditional greetings of handshakes, embracing each other and move around in large numbers without caution,” she added.
She said this could mean big disaster if people continue to defy instructions.
Mr Abbas Adeyemi, a trader, noted that if care was not taken and there was outbreak in Maraba, it could be difficult to tame.
He said the most effective response to this pandemic relies heavily on mass behavioral change.
Adeyemi said this was the time for politicians to commence door to door campaign on the need for people to adhere strictly to all the precautionary measures of COVID-19.
He said that something urgent needed to be done so that the purpose of containing the spread of the virus by restricting public gathering and maintaining social distance would not be defeated.
Mallam Khalifa Abdullahi, a person living with disability, told newsmen that there was no way he could stay at home.
He said that efforts by government to tame the spread of COVID-19 was laudable, but it was not easy to ask people to stay at home without making provisions for them.
He said that without including people with disabilities and the vulnerable in government palliative programmes, ensuring strict adherence to the law cannot work.
“People in my category are seriously affected; if we don’t beg, we cannot eat or live and now there is lockdown order without provision for us.
“Who is going to take care of my famil in feeding them and medical care and others in my categories?” he asked.