By Yinusa Ishola
Offa (Kwara) – Few hours to the commencement of Kwara Government’s 14-day total lockdown directive in Offa, residents are rushing to stock their homes with foodstuff and other household goods.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who monitored the situation on Wednesday reports that some residents were seen in the various markets in the metropolis as early as 8. 30 a.m to buy essential needs.
Some officers of the Nigeria Police were seen patrolling the streets to ensure full compliance as some of the residents appeared tensed following the government’s total lockdown directive.
A few security personnel were also sighted stationed at the entrance of Offa General Hospital.
It would be recalled that Mr Kayode Alabi, Kwara Deputy Governor, at a media briefing on Tuesday directed the commencement of a 14-day total lockdown of the community from 6 p.m on Wednesday, April 8.
Alabi, who is also the Chairman of the State Technical Committee on Covid-19, said the directive followed the death of the state’s index case of the virus, who happened to be from the community.
The wife of the index case, who had also tested positive to the virus had been isolated at the Sobi Specialist Hospital, which is the official government designated isolation centre for Coronavirus.
The government also said it was currently tracing 75 contacts, who had contact with the index case of the pandemic in the state.
A visit to one of the community’s major markets at Owode, showed that sellers of foodstuff like rice, beans, garri, semolina, tomatoes, vegetables, had high patronage.
Mrs Esther Adeleke, a teacher, said she was at the market to get some food for her family in preparedness for the total lockdown.
“We have been observing the partial lockdown for some weeks now before the announcement of the 14-day total lockdown starting today (Wednesday).
“We cannot stay indoors for such a long time without adequate preparation for feeding, that is why I am in the market to get few items,” she said.
Oba Muftau Gbadamosi, Olofa of Offa, while addressing some community leaders in his palace on the development, urged residents to ensure full compliance with government’s directive.
“Let us ensure full compliance with government directives on the Covid-19 pandemic as law abiding citizens.
“It is for our own good and safety, may God cure our community, state and country,” he said.
Mr Bello Sikirullahi, the Chairman of the Kwara Artisans Congress, Offa Chapter, expressed the readiness of members of the group to comply with the directive.
“We have sensitised our members on the new directives and also made provisions for some safety items like face masks and sanitisers for our members.
“We are at the same time appealing to the government to remember our members in its series of palliatives, to assist in cushioning the effect of the total lockdown,” he said.
Similarly, the Offa Descendants Union (ODU), in a statement signed by Mr Maruf Ajenifuja, National Public Relations Officer (PRO), urged the residents to abide by government’s total lockdown directive for their own benefit.
The union in the statement directed that all vehicles, motorcycles, either private or commercial vehicles, are to stay off the road, saying that law enforcement officers would be on patrol to ensure compliance.
The union also advised residents to imbibe the habit of handwashing with soap under running water and use of hand sanitisers, to ensure they do not contract the virus.
“Covid-19 is not a death sentence if adequate measures are taken,” the statement added.
NAN reports that other neighbouring communities affected by the total lockdown include Erin-Ile, Ijagbo and Ilemona.