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COVID-19: Hotels, bars remain closed as Nigerians beg Buhari govt for money

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COVID-19: Hotels, bars remain closed as Nigerians beg Buhari govt for money

The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on businesses in major cities across Nigeria.

Companies, hotels and bars are shutting down as a result of low patronage with Nigerians calling on the Buhari administration to send them funds to survive.

On Wednesday, Blessing, a receptionist at a hotel in Utako, Abuja, told DAILY POST that they had no guest.

“As I speak with you, the hotel is empty. I am just here gisting with the cleaner taking care of the premises and the security man.

Asked when guests stopped lodging, she replied, “March ending. That was when our ‘oga’ told workers to stop coming. We are all expecting the cash the government promised.”

Amanda, a staff member of a lounge in Lekki, Lagos, disclosed that she and her colleagues have been affected.

“They told us that we will be called back whenever activities resume. We worked for three weeks in March and we have not been paid till now.

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“The manager said he will transfer to our bank accounts but nothing yet. I have spent my savings. That is why I am angry that Buhari has not given people money.”

The lady confirmed that some of her friends and neighbours working at relaxation spots and small-sized companies have also been laid off.

Similarly, a correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), who monitored the situation in Benin, the Edo capital, reported that the situation is the same.

Hoteliers explained that the lay-off decision was because they rely heavily on generators as their source of power, even with low customers.

Highbrow hotels around Ihama and on G.R.A., have either shut down or merely operated skeletal service to keep the place open and not necessarily opened for profit-making.

Seyi Abiodun, a manager of a big hotel along Etete area, said: “It was not an easy decision for us against the background of the hard-working staff we have. But we had to close down, for now, to remain in business after the pandemic.

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“Before this decision was taken, for five days running, we could hardly boast of six guests in a hotel of 106 rooms. The day we shut down, we had to plead with the only guest we had to go lodge in another hotel.”

A highbrow hotel along Airport road in Benin also had to close down for lack of patronage.

A worker, who pleaded anonymity, noted that 80 per cent of the workforce were asked to stop work for now, until things normalise.

She attributed the reason for the low patronage to the fact that the majority of their customers were businessmen, women and guests from outside Edo State.

Bob Osato, another hotelier along Ihama road, expressed unhappiness about the pandemic.

“It is sad that this is happening but what can one do than to wait for normal business activities to resume. The workers that were asked to go will definitely be recalled when we are back on our feet again.

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“Hotel is not the only business affected by this COVID-19 matter, you can see that there is a lull in businesses along Ihama. I think the issue of safety comes first before any other thing,” he stated.

On Tuesday, the federal government assured that “poor and vulnerable” Nigerians will get relief cash to cushion the lockdown effect.

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