Nigeria: Lagos Youth Turn to Sports As Govt Enforces Lockdown Order

Although major roads and streets in Lagos remained deserted on Wednesday, the second day of the lockdown imposed by <a target="_blank" href="http://SearchResultsTwitterresultshttps://twitter.com/BashirAhmaad">President Muhammadu Buhari</a>, many youth found ways to entertain themselves.

During a nationwide broadcast on Sunday night, the president had ordered the restriction of movement in Lagos, Abuja, and Ogun states to curtail the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Despite the stay-at-home order and plea for social distancing, some Lagos residents are ignoring the call.

PREMIUM TIMES' visit to some areas in the metropolis showed some youth still engaging in sporting activities that involved body contact, such as football and boxing.

At Ekoro junction at Abule Egba, several people were seen playing football on the street as there was no vehicular movement with some others practising boxing.

Those who spoke to our reporter said they could not just stay at home because there is no electricity and they usually play football every morning, especially since they are unable to access the stadium.

One of the youth, who identified himself simply as Ajao, said he turned to football since he couldn't secure a job.

"I don't have a job at the moment, all I do is to play football as I have a local club that I play for, hoping to get a good contract either here in Nigeria or outside," he said.

"There is no way I will stay at home due to any lockdown, so some of us came out together to play set on the street and we have been using the opportunity to keep fit.

"We can't get to the Alade Stadium at Command where we train on a daily basis because of the lockdown as there was no vehicular movement in the area."

Sparring

Even with no ring in sight, some of the youths were engaged in a boxing training. They also said they resorted to street boxing since they could not go to the stadium. As they practised, a crowd cheered.

David Olayinka, who was among the crowd of onlookers, said he usually works from Monday to Saturday.

"I work on the Island and as early as 5 a.m., I am out of the house, but with nowhere to go, I have to keep myself busy.

"On Sunday I didn't go to church and I am already getting tired of staying at home so when I saw the boxing event, I decided to come out and watch.

"They don't do such on this road before because of vehicular movement, people going to work and others going to market, but the road is free, so everyone is free to come out and do whatever they like."

He added: "I don't think Corona (coronavirus) can come to a place like this, I don't have any fear though I am careful all the same"

A woman, known as Alhaja, who runs a restaurant around Ekoro Junction called Allahu Lateef Food Canteen, said despite the instruction that people operating restaurants and other essential commodities are allowed to open, they cannot open because of their inability to get to the market and get the necessary items to prepare the food.

She added: "going to market has been difficult since the lockdown was announced because items have been very expensive".

"Assuming you are able to trek to the market, will you trek back home or to the shop with the amount of items to run a restaurant for a whole day?

"We are just here to see how things going and continue to pray that things return to normal as soon as possible."

Some people who braved the odds and trekked to the market were seen using cart pushers and others to help them lift their goods to their destinations something they claimed cost them a lot of cash.

Nigeria's coronavirus cases rose to 151 on Wednesday, with Lagos contributing 82. So far, two people have died from the virus while nine have fully recovered.

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