IMPACT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN: EXPRESSIONS OF INEQUALITY AND SURVIVAL STRATEGIES AMONG INFORMAL WORKERS IN SELECTED SOUTHEAST STATES NIGERIA
Keywords:inequality, exclusion, poverty, COVID-19
This paper explores the downsides of COVID-19, especially its impact on inequality and the corresponding survival strategies employed by informal workers during the COVID-19 lockdowns in the Southeast region of Nigeria. The paper employs social inclusion as an explanatory framework and qualitative methods of data collection, particularly in-depth and key informant interviews to explore the negative aspects of COVID-19 on informal workers. Findings show that the major impact of adhering to basic COVID-19 guidelines by informal workers are, among others, little or no routine daily income, insufficient funds to enable strict adherence to basic pandemic guidelines, insufficient daily supplies to feed family, dependents, and so on. The coping strategies are: skipping afternoon meals, sourcing palliatives from churches and wealthy relatives, resort to compulsory fasts among others. The paper concludes that inequality elicits strong expressions of marginalization, and deprivation among informal workers which is heightened in the face of a pandemic.