Lagos Lockdown: How It Affects Mrs Bukky, A Primary School Headteacher

The restriction of non-essential business operations, issued by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in a bid to halt the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, is set to commence on Thursday, March 26. This is coming after the closure of schools which began on Monday, March 23. We spoke to the headteacher of a primary school located in Ikosi-Ketu and she shares her concerns and how the directives have affected her family and her school.

How did you react to the news of the school ban?

I had two reactions. On one hand, I was relieved. I was happy that the government cared about keeping the children safe, and that they were proactive in dealing with this virus. But on the other hand, I was angry and disappointed. A lot of school work had to be rushed or halted and a lot of plans had to be cancelled. The kids were sad; they don't understand. They just knew that all their fun activities had to be cancelled. They had worked so hard towards them and now they are gone. My staff are all apprehensive. No school means no work, which means no salary. They are worried about how to alternatively source for money.

What was the impact on your school?

The biggest problem is the debtors. Some parents are owing us, and with the lockdown, everyone is trying to hoard money or use it to buy things. They forget that we're here. We also have families to feed. Salaries need to be paid, and it all comes from the school fees. We can't see them every day like when they come to pick up their kids and now, getting it from them will be difficult. There is also a communication issue. Not every parent is online, and we try to communicate updates on the situation to our parents. Keep them in the loop for plans and how we are going to proceed here on out.

How will this lockdown affect your family and how you take care of them?

My kids are going to have it the hardest. The two of them are a hyper bunch, and now having to stay at home, it's not what they are used to. There's going to be a lot "Mummy I want to go to the park" or "Mummy I want to see my friends", especially since we never have consistent power. If the power was regular, you know at least the television will occupy them. Now that they are home, they are also going to consume a lot of food. As kids tend to eat more when restricted, they are going to rebel against the idea of not eating however they want to. I'm going to have to replenish the house at some point and you can't even do that properly. It's going to be hard for my husband and me.

Would you want the government to rescind the lockdown since it affects you so much?

No! For health and safety reasons. Look at other countries. They have a total lockdown, no movement. And it seems to be helping.

What would you want the government to do to assist?

Constant electricity and data supply. If they can liaise with the service providers to make data more affordable to ease communication and information circulation, it would be wonderful. If the little shops could be left open so it's easier for people to get quick supplies, that would also be good. Then security patrol. This is very, very important. With everyone at home, hooligans may use this as an opportunity to raid houses and steal from people. Especially for those like myself who don't live in gated communities. If the government can situate constant patrol, this would help us to feel safe, even in these times.

The government should also help set-up food banks. A lot of people live from hand-to-mouth and right now, this is hitting them the hardest. Maybe at every local government area, set up a food bank, where once a week people who need things like rice, garri etc, can come to get them. It has to be well monitored so terrible people don't hoard the materials.

Mrs Bukky is just one of the many people who will be affected by the school ban, and now, the restriction on businesses. While people understand that they are necessary, they also need the government to help fill the gap that these restrictions are going to create.

If you have a neighbour that you can help in one way or the other, try to assist, while also following the NCDC guidelines.

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