People hung around the environment in irregular clusters.
Conversing in tones that rose and fell with excited arguments.
Discussions centering around Covid19 pandemic and it’s devastating effects.
Frightening transmission statistics and daily mortality rates.
Long-term global socio-economic and cultural impacts.
The race for a vaccine and possible cure.
As well as Bio-warfare conspiracy theories.
Ranging from the empirically logical to the comically absurd.
Conversations tilted to the aloof indifference of government at all tiers.
Who clearly did not care or prepared for this pandemic.
And so had no contingent plan for such an eventuality.
As evident in the scarcity of palliative welfare packages and timely relief response programmes for citizens.
Same government deemed it fit to declare a 14 day stay at home order.
Activated at 11 hundred hours on the 30th day of March 2020.
Comprised of a combined security team of enforcers.
Including but not limited to combatants of the Nigerian Army.
Officials of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps and the pathetically incorrigible men of the Nigerian Police.
Who scrupulously exploited citizens.
Impounding vehicles and motorcycles on flimsy pretexts.
From drivers and riders.
Who desperately needed a fast buck
In an economy that had ground to a comatose.
No thanks to non existent commercial activities.
Yet mouths had to be fed.
At the risk of losing the very vehicle.
That was means to the next meal with family and dependants.
Vehicles were only released after “Ëgunjë” exchanged hands.
The combined security team cordoned off strategic points within the economic port city of Lagos-Nigeria.
Enforcing strict compliance of the Federal Government’s state of emergency.
As i drove through the city.
Taking care to pass through back roads to avoid the enforcement teams.
I enjoyed the luxury of riding in this city.
That was a shadow of it’s former self.
Without the endless honks and toots.
As well as the grueling go slows and gridlocks of impatient commuters.
Finally bumping into a combined security team of policemen and LNSC at the Akowonjo roundabout.
Between Santos and Williams estates.
One of the enforcers flagged me down.
A pot bellied.
Lanky police officer with a scar that ran the length of his right cheek.
Who reeked of stale alcohol and the bittersweet whiff of Marijuana.
Slinging his rifle casually on one shoulder.
He leaned a little too close to the driver’s side.
Opened his lips.
Revealing a set of tobacco stained teeth.
And a gut wrenching breath.
That smelt like rotten fish.
“Weh done sir who you be and where you dey go?”
Struggling to hold my breath.
“Good afternoon officer i am… and i work with a company that’s been exempted from this lockdown. Here are my state government issued papers”
“Bros u dey vex o”
“Which one u dey yarn Queens English na… u mean as everywhere red so you nor fit stretch your pikin something?”
“My pikin never dey carry gun abeg”
He cocked his head sideways.
Eyeing me slyly.
“Oga e never reach quarrel na… oya find your brother small something to take see road fight this Corona”
“Officer i nor dey carry money waka. U nor here say to go ATM na suicide now, because coro dey waka on top iron and i never wan kpai”
He laughed long and hard till tears came to his eyes.
Then whispered conspiratorially.
“Forget that thing… na big man and oyibo dey sick am”.
“Officer nor go there o”.
“Cool down bros we wey dem put for road so nor get face mask and we never contact coro”.
“Na true o officer how una take dey do am?”
“I nor know about others o but me get Bendel insurance but as e be say them talk say make persin dey take hot tea gargle throat all the time, na im me look say Oyibo way na tea and e still dey kee dem. Na to carry original sapëlë water for pocket, that one nor dey fail”.