As Fulani women worry over Covid-19 second wave

The resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic has continued to affect different groups of people in different ways. In this report ENE OSHABA writes on the fears of rural Fulani women in Abuja community in the wake of the second wave of the coronavirus.

The second wave of the coronavirus has continued to spread as authorities express concerns over people’s attitude towards the pandemic and non adherence to safety measures.

The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 has affirmed that there has been a rise in the number of cases recorded, particularly with the just concluded festive period.

During the first wave, citizens were urged to keep to all the safety measures in order to stay safe, however, various reports depicted a geometrical increase in the number of cases showing that many citizens may have threw caution to the wind leading to the second and reportedly even more deadlier second wave.

The situation has renewed fear amongst citizens, especially possibility of a second lockdown. This is against the background of the economic and social impact of the initial lockdown by government to curb the spread of the pandemic. Women were the worst hit as they had to think outside the box in order to fend for their children and families.

Amongst those scared of the news of the second wave due to rising cases and possible lockdown are women in the Rugan Ardo Community located close to the Idu Train Station in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

For these women, it would be a disaster if any of them were infected with the coronavirus due to their poor educational status and long standing poverty among other reasons.

“We have been living in this community for over 100 years and we don’t have any other home but unfortunately this place has been sold out and they say it’s not our place.

“Now we are scared because we heard the coronavirus is increasing and if there is another lockdown we would suffer more because we don’t have any other place to go to,” most of the women who spoke to Blueprint Weekend cried out.

Palpable fears

In a bid to sensitise the women on the pandemic a media-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), PAGED Initiative, carried out a video documentary outreach on the coronavirus pandemic in the community.

Blueprint Weekend reports that the women enumerated four major challenges they face with lack of healthcare facilities/providers especially for those pregnant topping their needs.

For 52-year-old mother of 12 and wife to the Community Head, Salamatu Mohammed, the poor living conditions especially as it concerns healthcare, water, hygiene, and education for their children has constantly given them sleepless nights.

Though sitting on a mat under the tree in her compound to relax, she did not look relaxed as she spoke with our correspondent, rather, fear, despair and uncertainty for better living was written all over her.

According to Salamatu, they were much aware of the coronavirus pandemic, pointing out that when PAGED Initiative visited to intimate them, they also listened to news on radio to get more information, as well as hear from people outside their community.

She bemoaned the fact that members of the community were being neglected by government notwithstanding that they are bonafide citizens of the country.

According to her, since the outbreak of the coronavirus their only source of income, which is selling of fresh milk popularly called nunu in Fulani, has dropped.

“We have been here for over 70 years, I was born here and I gave birth here and my children have also given birth here.

“Right now I don’t do anything unlike before when I used to hawk and this is because since the outbreak of Covid-19 I was asked to stop because of the pandemic.

“I sell milk going from house to house if I couldn’t sell I bring it back here but since the outbreak of Covid-19, I got tired of hawking because nobody buys it because of the pandemic.

“So, I decided to stay at home and I am doing nothing. We only eat what people bring for us because even if I go hawking nobody will buy.

“We also used to farm but they have sold the whole place so the owners of the land told us to stop farming there. Now we don’t have food, we only all contribute what we can to buy food from the market anytime you see us with food.

“Nobody wants to buy our nunu because everyone is scared of getting infected, I have not been going to the market because I will just end up going round, spend the little I have on transportation without selling anything. We are hungry and scared,” she said.

Speaking further, she said: “We heard about the coronavirus and we are scared. We used to wash our hands regularly as we have been advised to but sometimes we don’t even have the water, even if one go to the toilet, you just use small soap and water to wash it because there is no water.

“This well of water you’re seeing here will not give half bucket each to everyone in this house so we just reserve the water for drinking because there are many households in this ruga. We go to fetch water for general use from a stream far away from this our settlement one can spend like one hour before reaching the junction. So, you spend two hours to and from just to fetch a bucket or big bowl of water.

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