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Coronavirus: What rural dwellers think of the pandemic

Alhaji Sani Bakali of Bakali community in Giwa LGA of Kaduna State
Alhaji Sani Bakali of Bakali community in Giwa LGA of Kaduna State

Most rural dwellers in Kaduna State, like those in the cities, have continued to monitor the rising coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria and the rest of the world. At Bakali community in Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State, information on coronavirus is on the lips of most of the residents who said they have been glued to their radio sets since the first case of the disease was confirmed in Nigeria.

A resident of the community, Alhaji Sani Bakali, said there have been transmissions through WhatsApp platforms of the speeches of the state governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, who issued a ban on congregational prayers and other social activities such as weddings. He said they had listened to the governor’s directive and understood the enormity of the present situation and were willing to abide by the directive.

“Our children are at home; the schools have closed and civil servants have been asked to stay at home. That means it is serious. We know that markets in the cities have been closed but those in the villages are still active even though the congestion has reduced due to the restrictions.”

Bakali explained that there are those who do not believe in the disease and argue that it was a conspiracy between China and the United State of America. “Some people laugh at some of us and say we are too serious. They claim that it is a disease that only affects the rich; those who have travelled out of the country.”

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Hajiya Rabi Abdullahi of Kasuwan Magani in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna told our correspondent that she has had arguments with her husband because she had insisted that he washed his hands with soap after he returned from the market.

“I have been following up on the disease and knowing that there is presently no cure for it scares me. My husband and his friends believe that it is a disease that is mainly for the rich; those who travel out of the country and therefore should not concern us,” she said.

On his part, Shehu Hassan, who sells fertilizer at the Birnin Gwari weekly market, despite the fear of coronavirus, himself and other traders and buyers had converged at the market on Thursday to sell their goods.

Birnin Gwari Local Government Area shares a boundary with Katsina, Niger and Zamfara and has a large Thursday market that attracts traders and buyers from neighbouring states. At the Thursday market, our correspondent gathered that traders and buyers could not maintain social distancing, a situation Hassan said was necessitated by the large crowd in the market.

“The market is usually more congested than this,” he said, adding that Thursday’s low patronage was due to the preventive measures on coronavirus taken by various states to restrict movement.

“When you go to the clinics or police station, you find people with masks and you are given hand sanitizers to use or asked to wash your hands,” he said.

He however said the biggest threat to the people of Birnin Gwari was not coronavirus but the insecurity which he said had weakened the community’s economy. “We still go the mosques for prayers and most of the Imams are of the view that we should hold Juma’at prayers of Friday,” he said.

 

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