BY OLUFEMI AJADI OGUNTOYINBO
Despite its desirability, traders at the Trade Fair Complex in Lagos are giving half-hearted adherence to the social distancing rule of government.
This assertion came to the fore on Wednesday when The Eagle correspondent visited the market located on the Lagos-Badagry expressway.
Our investigation shows that although the market is abiding by the stipulations of the Lagos State government in terms of days and hours of opening and closure, but it has a less impressive score in terms of social distancing; it is half-hearted adherence in that area.
This much was proven during our Wednesday visit to the sprawling facility.
For example, there is no strict adherence to the rules on being properly covered as indicated by the Lagos State government.
Social distancing was also not being observed by most dealers and their customers as at the time of our visit.
In other words, whereas our reporter had expected to see literally everyone in the market with nose and face masks, hand gloves and even regular cleaning or washing of hands, it was half-hearted adherence that was at display;
In fact, there was a gathering of people by the BBA security post, entrance to the market section marked as “Niger 3, Trade Fair Lagos State”:
Also, cars and trucks of all kinds were allowed free entry and exit although it was not clear to our correspondent what they were bearing.
They freely drove into the market although passengers in the vehicle conveying the reporter were asked to disembark.
As it were, a special COVID-19 prayer session was in progress when our reporter reached that section of the market. A source told The Eagle that Thursdays were dedicated prayer days in the section and that what was happening was in fulfillment of the long-standing observance.
A trader in the market, Mrs Chukwuemeka Rose, provided her perspective for the half-hearted adherence to social distancing in the market.
“The reason is because an average Nigerians cannot survive from hunger alone. The government is complaining that it does not have the power to provide for Nigerians from government purse, while the citizens are shouting of hunger. If government can make provisions for the citizens, many Nigerians would stay home”.
According to another respondent who gave her name simply as Mrs Gladys: ” I am always coming to buy goods here before the pandemic lockdown started, we face a lot any time we come here to buy things in the sense of the challenge of getting in and out; is so terrible; government should please help us with Trade Fair roads”.
A trader, Mr Nnamdi Sunday, also speaking about the half-hearted adherence to the rules, said: “Nigerians are behaving according to the standards set by the government in the country and that’s why people cannot understand what diseases mean at this time. Had there been a data base of the population in the country, the government could have used that to make provisions for everyone”.
According to him, the market was still busy because people had to fend for themselves in the absence of government succor.
For as long as the government does not provide other necessities, it would remain half-hearted adherence to social distancing, he argued.