Rivers people and other Nigerians resident in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas would be making last minute purchases today.
There are 24 hours to go, but in reality it would be less than 24 hours left to get stock from the marketplace.
Tuesday, traffic was heavy within the State capital as the scramble for essential commodities began.
A vast majority of people spent most of the day at the various banks, trying very hard to get access to money with which to buy much needed stuff for their households.
At the GTB in Trans Amadi, an old lady was seen at the queue. She had lost her ATM card, she told a security man at the staircase leading to the bank’s main entrance in the presence of our reporter.
Banks have resorted to issuing numbers to their customers even for the use of ATMs since measures to curb the spread of the Coronavirus were put in place.
Social distancing, a new contraption which has become part of the struggle against the spread of the Coronavirus is at the centre of the slow pace experienced in gaining access to goods and services.
Our Correspondents report that markets were crammed with people while ATMs within Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor were largely overwhelmed.
Matters were reportedly complicated in the Ikwerre Local Government Area, following the decision of the local authorities to shutdown activity up to Igwuruta, on Tuesday, according to what we have heard.
As the day wears on, there are strong signals that there are likely to be more persons chasing very few goods.
This simply means that prices are likely to skyrocket as the clock winds down and people retreat to their homes in preparation for the lockdown.
Buyers who thronged the markets Tuesday say the price of beef went out of reach of average families.
A cup of prewinkles which sold for N300 before the imposition of the lockdown went up to N400. Similarly, a bottle of cashew nuts sold for N1,500 has gone up to about N2000 while bananas also sold higher. The cost of egusi, vegetables and other ccondiments used to prepare soup have risen as well.
Thursday, residents in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor would be going through another phase of the lockdown.
Given the tone of the Government statement which was issued earlier, there will be no movement during the day on Thursday.
Will Governor Wike allow the lockdown on Thursday to take effect from the evening hours? Will he be moved to give the people a few more hours?
Government House appears satisfied with the level of compliance achieved, but it is engaged in war in the court of public opinion where most people think the decision to demolish two hotels at Eleme was ill-conceived and extreme.
The Governor has vigorously justified his decision, saying such stiff measures were prescribed by Executive Order 006.
Now, that issue is becoming highly controversial and constitutional, with critics saying the right to take such decisions lies with the courts.
Governor Wike had argued that no court has set aside the Executive Order made by his administration.
Meanwhile, there are speculations in some quarters that the government may consider allowing another window next week for residents in the lockdown areas to breathe some fresh air and buy more foodstuff.
We are yet to confirm through our sources within the government if Governor Wike will address Rivers people, but we have learnt that such a possibility exists, given the fact that briefs by the State Chief Executive on matters relating to the virus has become more regular.
Already, more people who are not from PHALGA and Obio/Akpor have taken the opportunity provided by the Government decision to allow movement momentarily to relocate temporarily to their LGAs
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