Life in Lockdown: The Akwa lbom Drivers’ Experience

Life in Lockdown: The Akwa lbom Drivers’ Experience

The unprecedented outbreak of the novel Coronavirus pandemic has made the entire world to resort to quarantine measures in order to curb the spread of the virus.

With restriction of movements, shutdown of businesses and citizens’ adherence to government’s COVID- 19 lockdown order, it invariably develops into a rapid down turn in the rate of passengers availability.

Imoh Okon, a minibus driver in Uyo laid out his plight on how peoples’ confinement have caught him in the trap of arduousness where his daily earnings as a driver has been mitigated into # 2,500 in lieu of #5,000 initially earned before the lockdown.

In his words : “The restriction of movement has really attracted few passengers and l now earn way less than the initial amount before the pandemic lockdown.

“After earning as low as #2,500 , l till have to purchase fuel at the rate of #1,500 and my take home profit maybe #1000. With this situation, feeding my family daily is gradually becoming unbearable.

Meanwhile, the lockdown has also separated some drivers from their families due to the closure of roads by the security agencies.

Sunny, an AKTC driver narrated the ordeal of his colleague whose hometown is in Owerri. He said the driver was unable to travel back home after driving passengers from Owerri to Akwa lbom State on account of the lockdown pronouncement by the State Government.

According to Sunny, his colleague is now trapped and takes shelter in AKTC park while seeking help to feed by his fellow drivers.

Sunny also spoke about his frustration of how he is using his savings to feed his family members daily. He explained the feeling as being devastating.

“Unlike the keke or minibus drivers who still go out and hustle daily, my job as AKTC driver is totally disrupted and l have to wait until the lockdown is called off.

“Taking responsibility to feed my family and having no assistance from anywhere to at least aid the situation is really taking a toll on my skin but we just have to survive any how we can.”

On the disbursement of palliatives materials to citizens by the state government however, the AKTC driver expressed mixed feelings, saying it was only members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that were being given.

“I am so skeptical over the relief materials that Governor Udom Emmanuel will be distributing to households in the state. I am not a party man, the palliatives maybe given to people that are PDP faithfuls.

A keke rider, Tony also complained how the restriction and dilapidated roads inside the minor areas in Uyo town has affected his vehicle and his business in general.

“Taking the minor roads that are in bad shape so that my vehicle will not be apprehended by the security agencies has affected my vehicle and also my daily earnings.

“It is a rough time because sometimes l earn less than N2,000 and l still have to buy fuel and also take care of my family from this same amount. It is really a sad time.”

Okon, a motorcyclist who plies the Use Offot villages to make ends meet, explained how he earns #1,000 daily instead of #4,000 because of the lockdown pandemic.

“l still have to buy fuel, feed the family and make returns for the owner of the bike. It is really rough”

We can only hope that the world finds vaccine to eliminate the dark graven virus in our midst but until then, the economy in the world will suffer recession and more tough times awaits both customers and business men.

Mercy Obot

Mercy Obot is a journalist, entrepreneur and an inspirational writer who takes delight in emboldening people through real life stories. She also loves reading, listening to cool music and making friends globally.

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