Residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) across the six area councils, besieged banks and markets, Monday for money, and last minute shopping ahead of the 14 – day lockdown directed by President Muhamnadu Buhari on Sunday.
President Buhari had in a national broadcast to Nigerians proclaimed 14- day total lockdown on Abuja ,Lagos and Ogun states for curtailing the spread of coronavirus in and outside the affected areas.
As at the time of presidential proclamation to that effect, Lagos had the highest confirmed index cases of infected people by the virus, followed by Abuja.
In beating the lockdown which starts from 11pm on Monday March 30, 2020 and ends on Monday, April 13, 2020, Abuja residents first stormed branches of their various banks for cash withdrawals before heading to nearby markets to buy mostly food stuffs for feeding of their family members during the lockdown.
As early as 8:00 am, all the branches of commercial banks as well as markets in Kubwa, a satellite town in the territory, were stormed by customers and buyers, resulting into traffic jams on most of the roads in the Satellite town particularly the Gado Nasko road which starts from the second gate entry into the town to FO1 area linking Sokale axis of Dutshe Alhaji.
Many of the buyers who spoke with Blueprint on condition of anonymity, said the action was very necessary in view of the impending total lockdown of the territory.
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“Though the President in his speech said food sellers both raw and cooked , were exempted from the lockdown , but since intra and inter vehicular movements would be affected , it is wise for resident to stockpile their homes with foodstuffs now before the lockdown.
“Even if vehicles conveying food items would be allowed to ply the roads during the lockdown, prices of commodities or the affected foodstuffs may skyrocket during the time.
“The very reason many residents are rushing to buy whatever food item available money in their pockets can buy now,” said one of the buyers .
Also justifying the rush, a Zenith Bank customer in Kubwa said, ” though automated teller machines (ATM) of the various banks are not only expected to be well loaded with cash during the stay in door period but anything can happen and when nasty things like malfunctioning of the machines happen during the time, there will be nobody to complain to since all the banks are also affected.”
As it was in Kubwa based on findings by our various correspondents, so was it in other satellite towns like Karu, Nyanya, Lugbe, Gwagwalada, Bwari, Dutse, Gwarinpa and even the metropolitan districts of Wuse, Garki, Asokoro and Maitama where elite residents of the territory are domiciled.
The Garki village market in particular which is along the Ladoke Akintola Boulevard, was full to the brim with hundreds of buyers making panic buying ahead of the lockdown as at 6:00pm on Monday.
Meanwhile, Nigeria which now has over 100 cases of Coronavirus infections, recorded a second death from it, after the first one died eight days ago.