Ahead of the suspension of the lockdown relaxation window which holds every 7 am to 2 pm every-other-day in Ogun State, residents of Sango-Ota and Ijoko on Wednesday besieged many commercial banks along the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway in Sango, flouting the social distancing directive put in place to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Recall that the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun had announced in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin that the current relaxation window of the ongoing lockdown in the state between the hours of 7.00 am and 2.00 pm every other day will be reviewed from Saturday 18th of April, 2020.
Anticipating a suspension of the relaxation window, residents in Sango, Ijoko and Atan on Wednesday, during the relaxation window, besieged commercial banks along the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway and queued in a line that almost emptied into the express-road in front of the banks.
At Sango, commercial banks like Zenith Bank, FCMB, UBA, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) and Fidelity Bank are all located after each other along the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway.
When Tribune Online got to Zenith Bank, it was observed that the mammoth crowd outside, in front of the bank, was already stretching into the express road. The same scenario was evident at UBA and some of the other banks.
When our Correspondent made enquiries on the reason for the long queue in front of most of the banks, it was observed that the bank security, apparently trying to enforce social distancing inside the banking hall, were only allowing five customers access into the bank at a time.
“You know that Ogun State might follow Lagos to enforce total lockdown from this weekend, that is why I have decided to use the opportunity to complete some banking transactions before the relaxation window is lifted.
“The crowd at the banks, as you can see, is too much, so the bank security is enforcing five customers at-a-go policy into the banking hall in order to reduce congestion inside the banks.
“Due to this policy of five customers at a time, the gathering outside gradually grew into a mammoth crowd. The bank security won’t let you in until one of the five that has gone inside come out. We are all muddled up together in a long queue outside the banks, and nobody is even thinking of social distancing while outside the banks,” a bank customer who identified himself as Abigail Onuchi explained to our Correspondent while struggling in the queue outside Zenith Bank in Sango.
Another customer who lamented that some customers who can bribe their way through are being allowed into the bank without joining the queue stated that these has allowed the queue to become congested.
“Some people are being allowed in without joining the queue, it depends on your generosity with cash. This has made the queue to become congested. Nobody is talking of social distancing here, and it’s really dangerous for us. I have been here since 8 am, and its almost mid-day, I am yet to enter the UBA banking hall,” a frustrated Ibrahim Ali told our correspondent while on a long queue in front of one of the commercial banks.
The Ogun State Governor, in the statement issued earlier, had stated that “We must deny the virus the vital supply chain required to decimate humanity by complying with all the social distancing measures and maintaining personal hygiene.
“Therefore, the current window of relaxation of the lockdown in the state from 7.00 am to 2.00 pm, which follows the same pattern of last week, will still be available for this Wednesday (15th April) and Friday (17th April 2020) only.
This is to allow the residents prepare for the extension of the lockdown and restock on food and other essential items. However, Ogun State borders remain closed.”