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Nigeria virus lockdown pushes Lagos poor to the brink

Nigeria virus lockdown pushes Lagos poor to the brink

AFP
Lagos
A large crowd jostled and cheered in the poor district of Alimosho in Nigeria’s megacity Lagos as the doors of a lorry swung open to reveal hundreds of sacks of food.
The rice, beans and other staples were part of a programme from the local authorities to feed some of the poorest in economic hub of 20 million after it went into lockdown this week to halt the coronavirus.
But the joy of the local residents soon turned to anger as the realisation dawned that there would not be enough for everyone.
“Liars!” shouted a woman with a child tied on her back.
Only 50 sacks of food were unloaded and handed over to a local traditional leader to dole out before the truck closed up and headed off to make its next delivery.
The stay-at-home order issued by President Muhammadu Buhari from Monday has cut countless people who live hand-to-mouth in the city off from their only source of survival.
The handout initiative from the Lagos state government aims to provide rations to an initial 200,000 households to last them through the two-week shutdown.
But the 1.2 million people that represents is just a drop in the ocean of the hungry mouths left to feed across a sprawling city where poverty is rife.
“Sixty percent of the people or more are in the informal sector, earning daily wages,” Lagos state’s minister for agriculture, Gbolahan Lawal, told AFP.
“So there must be a way of palliating the economic challenges during the lockdown.”

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