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Relief in Lagos as lockdown ends

Relief in Lagos as lockdown ends

AFP
Lagos
Africa’s biggest city, Lagos, returned to work on Monday at the end of a five-week coronavirus lockdown.
In the metropolis of 20 million, where exuberance and poverty live side by side, relief at being able to earn money once again was almost palpable, despite Nigeria’s mounting COVID-19 toll.
All shops seemed to be open, car parks were full and street hawkers selling cool drinks, grilled meat and vegetables were pitching their wares on street corners as before, said AFP reporters.
Adewale Oluwa reopened his fruit and vegetable stall, carefully setting out a fine array of tomatoes. By 10 am, his customers were out in force and laughter was in the air as old acquaintances spotted each other.
“We were so impatient” for the confinement to end, Oluwa said.
“Today is wonderful.”
Minibus stations were as busy as before the lockdown, although touts wore masks as they called out to passengers.
Many people said they were glad to be back earning money -- 80 million out of Nigeria’s nearly 200 million population live below the poverty threshold.
For those without savings or working in the informal sector, the lockdown was a cruel blow.
“It was really a big loss,” Oluwa said.
“You know, we sell perishable (food), so we need to open every day. So to lock down for weeks was (a) big issue for us.”
Bus driver Ganiyu Ayinla said: “It’s been over one month of hunger and suffering.
“I can now make money to take care of my family,” he said, smiling as he braked at a busy stop to pick up passengers.

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