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West Africa

Lagosians worry over impact of curfew on livelihood


Employers Want Extension Of Work Hours Beyond 3pm

Residents expressed concerns over the impact the impending curfew would have on their livelihood and economy, with many worried that easing the lockdown could exacerbate the spread of the pandemic.

This is just as the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) lamented that the prescribed working hours of 9am to 3pm is operationally for effective productivity and would pose a huge challenge to a large percentage of employees residing in one state and working in another.

NECA’s Deputy Director, Corporate Office Abuja, Adenike Ajala speaking during this year’s May Day (Workers Day), yesterday, also stated that social distancing might not be practicable in the workplace, as it would have implications for workers’ interaction and specific number of employees who can work at any given time.

The employers’ body envisaged an emerging ‘new normal’ in the unforeseeable future.

To Roseline Adedayo, the timing of the curfew is not feasible in Lagos. “We all know how Lagos with traffic and except they force all employers to release their staff by 3pm latest, I don’t see how people can get home before 8pm.

Going to work would also be a major challenge because everyone would be moving almost at the same time. The government has asked public transporters to reduce the number of passengers they carry in their buses and tricycles, but even now, none of them is likely to observe this, as they are likely to carry the same number of passengers as before.

“The use of facemasks is still being enforced, amongst other things. The government needs to compel employers to release their staff by 3pm, tell people to use facemasks outside and anyone seen outside after 8pm, with no good reason, should be dealt with accordingly.”

According to Kunle Iyantan, a player in the travel and tourism industry, the curfew effective from, is a very bad idea, urging government rather to do the needful, providing for the citizens like some countries did and are doing during the lockdown.

Ajibola Ariyibi-Oke, a retire civil servant, and now a farmer, “I have been part of the peak of governance and I can interpret all government policy statements adequately. The partial lockdown is a trap and every wise person should still observe stay at home order. This is a time of biological war. No going out. I’m still observing my lockdown at the farm.”

But Gideon Nkwachi Ujoatuonu, a Chartered Accountant, said: “It’s very good. Quicker and reckless transmissions of disease happen in the night because of gross lawlessness at eventide till dawn.”

“It’s going to shorten our hours of work really, especially because of Lagos traffic. If we drive two hours to work and close 3pm, and enjoy break, we will have effective four hours to work per day. This is 50 percent productivity record of effective hours worked.”

On the challenge of going to work and returning home on time to beat the curfew, Nkwachi stated that it is going to be worse for people living farther from their offices and using public transport and foresees hike in fares, with the possibility of lateness to work and leaving early.

He acknowledged the risk of inadequate commercial buses and poor productivity because of few hours of work, stressing that factory workers, blue-collar worker and those who survive on daily pay would be worse off.

Ikechukwu Molokwu, a lawyer told The Guardian, he has resolved not to go anywhere in the coming week, stressing that even though he was tired of the lockdown initially, with the figures he is seeing, he has advised himself to stay safe.

He said government succumbed to pressure by lifting the lockdown to impose curfew at night, adding: “In truth, most of the people that mounted pressure on the government to lift the lockdown were the same people who obeyed the lockdown in breach rather than compliance.

“To me, it is better to stay safe and be alive to make a living after Covid-19 than do otherwise.”

For Emmanuel Anyanwu, a security expert, said: “My take is, will the COVID-19 virus be on holiday starting from 8pm to 6am daily? What about if there was rush after close of work in order to meet up with the 8pm curfew? How many Lagosians or Nigerians drive to work? So you should know the curfew has no intended meaningful impact to make but a simple way of empowering the law enforcement agencies to extort the public, but a simple way to empowering the law enforcement agencies to extort the public.”

He stated that the lockdown should have continued though with government providing adequate palliative for the citizens, adding that pushing people out would alter all the achievements made by the government.

He stressed that the country is not crises ready both financially and material, “so calling off the lockdown is going to be a huge disaster.”

The security expert further urged the government to jettison the curfew, saying: “Since the virus is not going to be on holiday at anytime of the day, there won’t be need for night and evening curfew, except you are fighting only a virus that is more powerful at night and vanishes in day time.”

Akeem Aweda, one-time students’ union president of Lagos State University (LASU), believed that though it might seem the best option, this is not the right time to relax the lockdown and impose curfew.

He noted: “I will still keep my social distance, stay indoors and go out only when it’s really needed. We should go on lockdown at least till things are controlled to an extent.”

Taiwo Yussuf, a telecom and solar power engineer: “It will put people on toes to be time conscious because of Lagos traffic. It will drag some implementation and transactions. For example, two days job might extend to four days.”

He called on government to reduce the timing of the curfew to commence from 10p.m to 6a.m.

To mitigate foreseeable challenges going to work and returning home on time to beat the curfew, Lead Tailoring Consultant of Wapa Textile and Garment Manufacturing Limited, Mr. Adetola Adebowale, urged employers to provide their workers with accommodation and meals, where possible, but charged government to ensure strict compliance with the curfew.

Adebowale said: “Restrictions of unauthorised personnel should be enforced. Curfew time is okay but implementation is very poor.”

Managing Director, AOC Biotech Ltd, a food processing and manufacturing company, Ayodeji Olasupo, described the curfew as a good step saying it will be effective outside productive hours and will not affect business too negatively. And stressed the need to re-organise business processes to streamline cut-off time.

Chief Executive Officer of Reindz Star Concept, Ajibola Kazeem Olayinka, said the curfew is a short-term fix for deeper problems, urging residents to comply with the directive as it was made in the best interest of the people.

Olayinka said: “I have to adjust to the timetable, Businesses are dying and going comatose, but the government does not want that. If we don’t cooperate with all the measures put in place, we will end up recording unprecedented fatalities or we will make government restore total restrictions.”

Managing Partner/Lead Consultant Eastfileds Communications and Marketing Service, Lagos, Pastor Victor Kayode, sees the curfew as a welcome development, but expressed doubt whether it will have any effect if people are not ready to comply.

Kayode identified logistics, traffic and time management as challenges most people would likely face going to work and returning home with the curfew in place, saying the only way out is proper planning of daily and weekly tasks.

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