Residents of the Obinagu Nike community of Enugu state have continued to recount how the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the community economy leading to huge poverty and suffering among residents.
Some of the residents who spoke to the Media Advocacy West Africa Foundation (MAWA – Foundation) official who visited the community to access the impact of COVID-19 on the people recounted how the local economy has collapsed showing how it has led to community poverty and sufferings.
Miss. Ezeama Rita, a MAWA Foundation official who spoke to community residents at the Eke Obinagu Nike, a popular market in the community, got different accounts from them about how the COVID-19 adversely affected their businesses and the local economy.
For instance, Mrs. Anichukwu who sells cooking utensils at the Eke Obinagu Nike market says since the COVID-19 virus started to this moment, she has experienced difficulty in her businesses, she pointed out that her customers have since stopped coming while commodities in the market have since become highly expensive which is affecting community economy in all angles.
Another resident, Mr. Ugwu Ifanyi who comes from Agbani in Enugu State, said that the COVID-19 lockdown has affected him badly. He explained that he could not open his shop and do his business anymore after the pandemic because his income has gone. He also pleaded that government should remember and help businessmen and women in the Eke Obinagu Nike market; pointing out that they are dying of poverty and many businesses have since been liquidated.
COVID-19 has finished my business says Mrs. Nwada, popularly called “Iron Lady” who sells food ingredients at the Eke Oobinagu Nike market, she also explained how COVID-19 and border closure have made prices of commodity high in the market making it impossible for sellers to make any profit.
This is even as Nwada, told MAWA Foundation that despite the suffering and hardship the community residents are going through as a result of COVID-19, no resident in the area was give palliative or any form of assistance by the government.
Mr. Onyedika Chukwu, who sells foodstuffs in the same market, told MAWA officials that nobody from the community received any palliative during and after the lockdown. Chukwu explained that since the COVID-19 began, businesses in the community have collapsed, adding that the suffering is most prominent in hunger as prices of food are so high that the poor cannot afford them anymore.
Yes COVID-19 affected my business very badly especially during the lockdown and has continued after the lockdown says Mrs. Mama who sells perishable food in the Eke Obinagu Nike market, Mama explained that she has lost all her customers because of the high cost of food in the market.
She pointed out that many businessmen and women in the market have had a huge set back on their businesses as a result of the COVID-19. She, however, added that despite the huge economic crisis that has affected the local economy as a result of the COVID-19, there were no palliatives or intervention programmes from the government to support business owners who have suffered a huge loss.
Many of the market men and women, who spoke to MAWA, appealed to the government to assist in any way possible, pointing out that the losses that they have recorded as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is so huge and requires government intervention to be addressed.
This report is supported by the Open Society Initiatives For West Africa, OSIWA