The global malady, covid-19 proved to medical expert, health practitioners and technocrat that more height needs to be attained. The hand writing on the wall meant that the present facilities and scientific discoveries need to be speedily updated to tackle any sudden health mishap without bringing untold challenges and pains to humans. As thunder and lightning grips hearts in fear for refuge, even so has covid-19 accelerated the steps of medical researchers’ to the laboratory and government at all sector to the drawing board for safety. The word “lockdown” will remain indelible in minds.
Rivers state is one of the oil rich states in the south-south geopolitical zone of Nigeria. The state consist of twenty-three (23) local government areas. The abundant natural wealth of the state ranging from crude oil, fertile soil sea foods and water bodies etc. made the state a destination for all. This accounts for the dense population of the state compared to other states in the south-south zone.
On a normal day, traffic congestion from heavy vehicular movements and pedestrian activities, dots the nook and crannies of the state. Rivers state is noted for high commercial activities and a proportionately high standard of living. An eagle’s eye view of the state under normalcy, is a testament that the available resources of the state will not be able to cater for the dense population, let alone, the influxes. The chanting from commuters, the sweat droplet from burnt energies, the potpourri of odors oozing from humans/environment and the squawking are clear indication that many are self-empowered and depend on daily end to end runs to carter for needs.
Traffic Congestion in Port Harcourt LGA, Nigeria
With the total lockdown declared by Governor Ezebunwo Nyeson Wike on Obio-Akpor and Port Harcourt City local governments, with effect from 7th May, 2020, the affected areas have since taken a gloomy look. The huge traffic and commercial activities faded into thin air. Security operatives took over the entire environment as enforcement to government orders. Security vehicles replaced traffic while soldiers patrolled through to nab defaulters of orders. For the first time in my entire residence in Obio-Akpor local government, automatic serenity was felt. The sudden calmness was comparable to that of the cemetery and the library.
A droplet of a pin on the ground is loudly perceived as an explosive being detonated. I was poised to ask myself how the limited built up places within the affected local government, managed to accommodate the physical population seen during a normal day on the streets
Choba is a community in Obio-Akpor local government that houses the University of Port Harcourt.
The 7th of May, 2020 will never be forgotten especially by defaulters who broke lockdown orders around the popular Choba junction. The defaulters who took the orders with levity, roamed the street in hiding before their arrest. Deaf ears was paid to their various excuses by security operatives. The defaulter’s pleas and tears didn’t attract mercy as the law must have to take its own course.
To the soldiers, it was a prayer answer as an opportunity to flex muscle on civilians. The defaulters were compelled by soldiers to chant songs of repentance as they marched into the military bus for prosecution.
Paraded Lockdown Defaulters Marching into Security Bus
The relapse of the lockdown orders was to allow citizens to restock supplies in preparation for lockdown extension. There was a sudden resurgence of commercial activities and traffic within the lockdown geographies. Vehicles stranded for days, carrying essential commodities took over traffic. The crowd on street, market and banks was nothing compared to the pre-lockdown era. Social distancing was of less concern at a glance because the mad rush for commodities psychologically erased health consciousness. Prices of essential goods was on the high side as traders complained of hike in transportation and scarcity of goods. Some traders complained that the hike in price was to circumvent losses incurred from spoilt goods under preservation.
It is glaring from the resurgence of commercial activities within both local governments that citizens are ready for daily activities.