Osun residents cry of hunger, beg Govt to relax lockdown, ask for relief materials

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Abimbola Abatta, Osogbo

As the grip of COVID-19 lockdown becomes tenser, Osun state residents have entreated the state government to relax its sit-at-home directive in order to mitigate its harsh effects on them.

This was as Governor Gboyega Oyetola mentioned on Sunday that the lockdown order could be extended until the state becomes completely safe for all citizens.

It should be recalled that, a week earlier, Oyetola had ordered a total lockdown of the state as part of the government’s effort to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

Although the governor had assured the citizens of the provision of relief material to cushion the impact of the lockdown, some residents of the state want the governor to relax the order as done by his counterparts in other states.

The effect of the lockdown has prompted some residents, especially market women, to flout the directive of the government.

While visiting Oja Oba market in Osogbo, some tomatoes and pepper sellers were seen around 5:30 pm, going about their usual business.

When asked the reason for flouting the order, some of the traders complained of hunger and lack of money, noting that it became necessary to make some sales in order to feed their families.

According to Mama Kafayat, a tomato seller, “I have four children and we don’t have anything else to eat at home and I cannot be eating tomatoes, so I have to sell something in order to buy foodstuffs to eat.”

“If a whole Lagos can allow people to go to the market, then what is happening here,” she added.

Also sharing a similar view, a pepper seller, Shade said the government should come to their aid by relaxing the lockdown and also share relief items to residents.

“Most of the people that came to buy things don’t have money. Things are hard and if care is not taken, hunger will kill some people in the state.”

The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), Osun State Chapter, while reacting to the Osun Infectious Disease (Emergency Prevention) Regulation 2020 which was signed last week, posited that it is wrong to give a stay-at-home order without providing palliative to ease the residents’ hardship.

Recall that Governor Oyetola signed the regulation last week, stating that whoever flouts the sit-at-home order risks six months imprisonment.

The DSM, in a statement co-signed by the Chairman, Alfred Adegoke and Secretary, Kola Ibrahim, said: “criminalising violators of stay-at-home order without providing palliative for people is tantamount to tyranny and oppression.”