The Lockdown in Lagos State has continued to leave its mark on many essential workers who go about their daily activities amidst pains and sufferings.
PREMIUM TIMES’ interviews with several essential workers revealed the hardship they encounter during the lockdown, coupled with little or no care from their employers.
Teslim Salami, a worker at a franchise of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Ketu branch said the difficulties that come with going to work is stifling.
“Transport fare has increased, prices of food stuff have increased too,” he said.
While giving a breakdown, Mr Salami said he spends between N800 – N1, 000 from Ikorodu to work and back home everyday, this is against the average of N300 before the lockdown.
“Buses or cars now carry Ikorodu to Ketu N500, when I’m going back home, I will spend another N500,” he lamented.
Mr Salami works five days in a week and earns N18,000 monthly.
“All my salary has been spent on transportation, the moment I collect this month’s salary, it will be used for paying back debts,” Mr Salami said.
Corroborating Mr Salami’s agony, Foreign Jude, another worker at the filling station said things are getting worse for them on a daily basis.
“Sometimes when you are lucky, you can get a bus or car for N300 or N400, but most days, it is N500,” he said.
None of the workers at the filling station was seen with a nose mask, hands gloves or other protective gears.
Deborah oyebode, a street sweeper, who resides at Ajegunle and works at Ketu – Mile 12 road said the lockdown has brought her an untold hardship because she has to come to work everyday.
While complaining about the increase in transport fare, Mrs Oyebode said they were not remembered in the food package being distributed by the government but were mandated to come to work.
“Nothing has been given to us, not food or even money. The bus stress has reduced this week because there are some busses that started carrying us this week, free of charge.”
PREMIUM TIMES could not ascertain whether the transport relief was from the state government or non-governmental organisations.
“The government is not taking care of us at all, no basic provision, not even protective equipment,” another road sweeper said.
Ruth Alabi lamented that because of the lockdown, life has become more difficult as she now spends double on what she used to spend on transportation.
“The buses they just provided cannot carry everyone of us, sometimes, before I get to the bus-stop, the bus might not come. They will not carry you if you don’t wear your uniform.”
“Ordinary I. D card, or pass, they did not give us. Our supervisor supplied nose masks when coronavirus first started, but we now buy on our own. Not all of us are uneducated, they are not doing us well at all,” Mrs Alabi said.
The street sweepers with the Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA) were earning N18,500 before the minimum wage was effected in Lagos, but now earn N25, 000, PREMIUM TIMES confirmed.
“They are yet to pay us salary for the third month (March), many of our people come late to work because of transport, while some don’t come at all if the price is too much,” another road sweeper, who declined giving her name said.
The road sweeper said that she has not benefitted from the palliative measures being announced by the government.
“Not even one sack of food stuff was given to us, I can tell you from Mile 12 down to Anthony, none of us have collected anything,” she said in Yoruba language.
Bank Security Personnel
Frank, a security personnel at FCMB said his work pattern has changed as an effect of the lockdown.
“I stay at work for one week, we now do one week on and one week off, but before it was 24-hours on duty and 24-hours off duty.”
Mr Frank however said despite that the work pattern comes with challenges, it is a form of relief for him.
“I am enjoying it now because there is no much work at this period unlike before the lockdown. Also, transport fare coming to work from Agric, Ikorodu is now N500, that’s the amount I entered it this morning because I resumed this morning.”
Aside that, the one week shift has saved Mr Frank a little transport expenses, he said the bank sometimes caters for their feeding.
“How we survive is none of their business because we are contract staff, but once in a while, they give us feeding (allowance),” he said.
Another security officer who declined giving his name said the work shift gives him a lot of burden.
“Now, we have to stay for one week, unlike before that we do one day on and one day off and we can do some other things alongside,” he said.