Since the emergence of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, governments, organisations and individuals have continued to deploy measures targeted at containing the spread of the virus.
Among the measures embarked upon were shutting down of public institutions, including offices, schools, churches and mosques, avoidance of crowd, social distancing and limiting the number of passengers transport operators carry.
Other measures included constant washing of hands with soap and sanitizers, placing of water, soap and sanitiser at the entrance of public institutions, cleaning of phones with mild sanitiser.

In Anambra State, for example, Governor Willie Obiano in his response to the growing threat of the pandemic, constituted a 22-man Action Committee on Covid-19 to ensure hands-on attention to the best ways of containing the plague.
The governor directed civil servants in the state, excluding all staff of State Ministry of Health workers and officers on essential duty to proceed on a 14-day work-from-home with effect from Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
He, however, said any civil servant might be called upon at any given time to handle urgent assignments as the case arises.
The governor also suspended public gatherings till further notice with effect from today, March 23, 2020, charging traditional rulers and President General of communities to ensure full compliance or be held responsible.
“This includes traditional marriage ceremonies, community festivals, ofala festivals, masquerade festivals, Igbankwu nwanyi, funeral ceremonies, baby christening, new yam festivals, title-taking ceremonies and any meeting of more than 30 participants,” he said.

He also ordered with immediate effect the closure of all nursery, primary, secondary, vocational and tertiary schools in the state, while academic and extra-curricular activities remained suspended.
Obiano directed public transport operators to submit the manifest of all passengers coming into the State to the appropriate authorities with their names, phone numbers, residential addresses and final destination.
He continued: “No Keke or tricycle rider should carry more than two passengers at a time. Drivers of shuttle buses must not carry more than 3 passengers at a time. Drivers of the township and minibuses must not carry more than 5 passengers at a time.
“All night clubs are hereby closed until further notice. People should endeavour to sit at home. Operators of bars and restaurants should not admit more than 30 customers at a time and must adhere strictly to the basic standards of social distancing.
“They must also provide hand-washing points and hand sanitizers for their customers. Any violation will attract immediate closure of the premises.
“All persons returning to Anambra State from all countries of the world and states that have Covid-19 cases must go into self-isolation for 14 days and report.”
The governor mandated the general public to maintain a habit of frequent hand-washing with soap and water as well as use alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
“The public is strongly advised to only visit the markets for essential commodities. Security Agencies have been directed to ensure full compliance.”
However, to what extent these directives are being adhered to by the recipients leaves much to be desired.
Undoubtedly, one of the major sectors the directives have remained difficult, if not impossible, is the transportation sector.
As easy as it was for the students, public servants and religious organisations to adhere to the directives given to them, it would be a herculean task for the transport operators.
For example, commercial bus and shuttle drivers, as well as tricycle operators are popularly known as Keke in the state, are yet to comply with state government directive on the number of passengers on board their vehicles at a time.
Our correspondent, who monitored the level of compliance at the various motor parks in the state, observed that all the drivers of various commercial vehicles still stick to the number of passengers before the directive was issued.
Some of the drivers who spoke to the Nation described the directives as unrealistic and laughable. They said it would be difficult for the government to make provisions as palliatives to cushion the effects of the directives.
According to them, the only clause in the directives that made sense was that of maintaining a habit of frequent hand-washing with soap and water as well as use alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
A commercial bus driver at the popular Aroma junction in the state capital, who simply identified himself as Papa Miracle, wondered the possibility of adherence to such directives.
“Since yesterday night I heard the news, I’ve been wondering how such an order can be adhered to by the transporters. If they say we should be carrying only five passengers as against 14, how can we make it?


“Are they ready to be paying for the losses we incur every day for not carrying full capacity?”
Unless they want us to increase the price, which will be difficult for the passengers to pay,” he said.
A tricycle operator, Emmy Ndeke, at the Boromeo bus stop in Onitsha, the commercial city of the state, dismissed the directives as mere theory only obtainable on paper.
He said: “If they say it’s because of coronavirus that they are giving the order, is it only when we carry only two passengers that the disease won’t spread. Abeg let us be realistic.
“If it’s the general maintenance of the habit of frequent hand-washing with soap and water as well as use alcohol-based hand sanitisers, which we can do.”
At the Umuoji- Nkpor route, Shuttle buses plying that axis had seven passengers as against government directive of three while Keke riders carried five passengers going contrary to the directive.

Coaster and minibuses were not left out in flouting the directive as they conveyed up to 30 passengers from Nkpor to Onitsha Main market.
The story was not different from commercial vehicles plying various areas including Nkpor to Aguata, Anocha, Awka Axis as all maintained the usual system of loading.
One of the shuttle bus drivers, Mr. Tochukwu Igwemadu, said compliance with the directive must lead to a sharp increase in transport fare.
“A shuttle bus has the capacity of seven passengers, and if we reduce the number to three, the transport fair will automatically go up to N200 as against the usual N100 per passenger.”
At the state capital, Keke drivers plying Goodwill junction –Aroma axis in Awka lamented lack of passengers following the closure of offices and schools.
The coming days will show the government’s strategy to ensure compliance with its social distancing order.
Axact

ANAMBRA UPDATE

Anambra Update is an independent publication, established in 2012 for the purpose of presenting balanced coverage of events, and of promoting the best interests of Anambra and Ndigbo in extention. It owes allegiance to no political party, ethnic community, religious or other interest group. Its primary commitment is to the integrity and sovereignty of the Federation of Nigeria, and beyond that to the unity and sovereignty of Igbo Social-Cultural Race

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