There was panic buying across markets in Kano metropolis yesterday as the state goes on seven days lockdown beginning from today. Our reporters also observed massive turnout at ATM points as bank customers besiege their bankers for withdrawal ahead of the week-long total lockdown.

It would be recalled that Kano State Government on Tuesday announced that markets and worship centres across the state would be put on total halt for seven days beginning from 10pm today to curb and contain the spread of coronavirus among the public. It is on record that as at yesterday the state’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 have risen to nine, since from the time the index case was recorded last Saturday.

Some residents who were on the last minute purchases told Daily Trust that prices of foodstuff and other basic commodities have skyrocketed ahead of the lockdown. MC Ibrahim Sharuh khan, who was at Sahad stores for shopping ahead of the lockdown decried the sudden increase in the price of commodities and foodstuff across the markets. He said “I was actually planning to stock food stuff for the month of Ramadan, but with the sudden announcement of the lockdown, people are rushing to buy for fear of the unknown, and that is why I am here to shop.”

“I was at the Yankaba market and the price of items has also gone up. For instance, a measure of Irish potato that we used to buy for N5,000 is now N7,000; that of N1,500 is now N2,000, same thing with yam tubers,” he said. Hajiya Hafsat blamed the sudden price increase on the marketers who unnecessarily increase the prices of commodities, just to maximize profit at the expense of the consumers. “Barely 24 hours, the price of 25 litres cooking oil was N12,500 but today it has been increased to N14,000.

This is something they already have in stores, why should they take undue advantage of this terrible situation by increasing prices of items?” she queried. However, some of the residents lamented about the lockdown, describing it as a measure aiming at inflicting more hardship and pains on the poor masses especially those living on daily wages. Malam Rabiu Isa, a grocery seller at Tarauni Market told Daily Trust that, “For people that live from hand-to-mouth, just like me, the seven days lockdown order is torture for the poor.”

Babangida Shua’ibu Mohammad, another trader shared the same opinion saying “If palliatives are not given to the poor and vulnerable families with utmost urgency, more people in the state will die of hunger.” Abubakar Aliyu Tarauni on his part said “We have seen several epidemics and dangerous diseases including malaria, cholera and many more deadly outbreaks but we have never had a total lockdown as this coronavirus era. Stopping someone that survives from daily earnings is an infringement on the human rights,” he said.