On Mach 30, 2020, Nigeria began its lockdown of citizens and economic activities, in response to the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic. Nigeria would not be the only country on lockdown. Several countries across the world have being on lockdown, as a measure to curb the spread of COVID-19. It is clear however, that lockdown comes with its pains. In some countries, the pain is more acute than in others. Countries however found ways to cushion the effects of the economic and physical lockdown on its citizens, with governments of countries, paying out cash or implementing ameliorating measures to the benefit of their citizens.
In Nigeria, the government is implementing what it calls “social investment” programmes. This it claims, targets “the poorest, of the poor.”
Under its social investment programme it claims to have transferred billions of Naira to the poorest members of society.
For a country regarded as the “poverty capital of the world”, it is questionable what impact the government’s cash transfer scheme will have in a shut-down economy, and with a significant portion of the country’s 200 million persons, stressed and stretched, this COVID-19 period.
Already citizens are becoming restless and asking how long the lockdown of the country would continue. The majority of the people have no social protection and depend on daily work to survive. Economic activities are at a halt and hunger is biting. Worsened now, with increasing reports of insecurity, robberies and other crimes, it is only a matter of time, before the restlessness of citizens boil over and creates a new crisis.
In Lagos and Ogun States, where the lockdowns are strongly in place, gangs of criminals have been reported to attack neighborhoods and streets, robbing and dispossessing people of their property and inflicting harm and pain.
While the need for a lockdown is well understood as a necessary measure to stop the spread of COVID-19, it is unclear to citizens, what the government’s strategy to re-open the economy in the near future, is. Indeed, citizens, desperate to survive, may become more restless in the days ahead if the strategy of government is not made any clearer and people see some sort of road map to survive the current lockdown.
There has been subdued criticism of the lockdown in Nigeria and other less endowed African countries, for replicating the coronavirus prevention strategies of Western nations, whose resources can support their citizens in a lockdown, with African countries accused of not taking this difference into account and adapting their response accordingly.
Countries Currently Implementing Lockdown
Australia – First Entered lockdown on March 24
Argentina –Lockdown imposed on March 21.
Austria – Lockdown since March 15.
Belgium – Lockdown started on March 17.
Colombia – Lockdown first implemented on March 24
El Salvador – Lockdown restrictions first introduced on March 11
France – Lockdown since March 16
Germany – Entered lockdown on March 24
Ireland – Entered lockdown on March 27
Israel – Entered lockdown on March 25
Italy – Italy entered lockdown on March 10
Jordan – Lockdown since March 21
Kenya – In lockdown since March 15
Ghana – March 30
Kuwait – Lockdown since March 13
Latvia – Lockdown since March 17
Malaysia – Lockdown since March 16
Morocco – Lockdown since March 15
Russia – Lockdown since March 30
New Zealand – Lockdown since March 25
Norway – Lockdown since March 12
Poland – Lockdown since March 13
Saudi Arabia – Lockdown since March 25
South Africa – Lockdown since March 26
Spain – Lockdown since March 14
Thailand – Lockdown since April 3
United Arab Emirates– Lockdown since March 26
USA – 32 out of 50 States in the US have been locked down for over two weeks since late March
UK – Lockdown since March 23