A Study on the Assessment of the Impact of Covid-19 Lockdown in Nigeria: A View from the Three Geo-Political Zones of Northern Nigeria

  This article is published by the Zamfara International Journal of Humanities.

Adinoyi Baba James1, Chomo Jesophine Dung2, Abba Theresa Iya 3  & Sanni Jacob Enewo4

1,2Department of Art and Industrial Design,
Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa

3Department of General Studies (Languages),
Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa

4Department of Civil Engineering,
Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa

Nasarawa - Nigeria.




Covid-19 pandemic disease that commenced in China and later spread across the borders of the country to other parts of the world, hampered socio-economic activities. This study aimed at investigating the impact of Covid-19 lockdown on the Northern Nigeria’s economy and the households. The Northern Nigeria geo-political region comprises North-east, North-west and North-central zones. A state was selected from each zone for collection of data, and those states include Adamawa, Zamfara and Nasarawa respectively. Questionnaires were specifically sent to Federal Polytechnic, Mubi; Federal University, Gusau and Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa respectively for the data collection. The questionnaires were administered to the students of these institutions to respond to. The results obtained revealed that Covid-19 pandemic lockdown had adverse effects on the economy of the Northern Nigeria, and the depth of the impact on the economy and households varied from one place to another. The results further revealed that during Covid-19 lockdown the people and their household members who had access to basic needs in North-east were more than those who had access to basic needs in North-west and North-central. In general, majority of the people in the three regions did not have access to the basic needs.  Also, in each of the three geographical zones, the results further indicated that those who relied on the family incomes for surviving during lockdown were more in number, followed by those who depended on family members, personal savings and neighbor for assistance, while only few people received assistances from Government and Non-governmental organization.

Key words: Covid-19, Lockdown, Economy, Household, Northern Nigeria



Over the years, people across the world had fought various global health scourges which threatened to wipe off human beings from the surface of the earth. It is worthy to note that Covid-19 pandemic is different when compared with the plagues and epidemics that have destroyed humanity throughout its existence UNESCO as cited (Alaba and Emmanuel, 2020). The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) which started its first transmission at Wuhan in China to human beings. Since then, the virus has spread across the boundaries of many nations through travelling and person-to-person contact (Hui et al, 2020); (Chin et al, 2020). The outbreak of Covid -19 pandemic was a huge challenge to world economy in which Nigeria’s economy was not an exception, and the households were greatly hit as they were restricted to their homes and many businesses were closed down in order to prevent the spread of novel disease. Restriction was placed on interstates movement, market places were locked, religious gatherings of more than 10 persons were banned, social activities such as parties, ceremonies and club meetings etc. were placed on hold (Alaba and Emmanuel 2020). The scale of humanitarian and economic impact of the covid-19 pandemic is driving evaluation (Tung et al 2020).

Other most common ways through which the virus could easily spread are hand shaking, breathing, sneezing, singing, talking and coughing (WHO, 2020). The infected persons expel tiny droplets that contain the virus, and those droplets could enter the mouth, eye or nose of another person that was without the virus, causing the spread of the infection to continue.  In addition, droplets containing the virus could also land on nearby surfaces or objects and when uninfected people touch such surfaces or objects they would pick up the virus unknowingly, and then touches their noses, eyes, or mouths, and spread continues through the aforementioned ways (Parry, 2020; Landry et al, 2020).

According to the WHO, signs of infection include fever, cough, and shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, it could result to pneumonia, multiple organ failure and even death. Estimate of the incubation period, that is, the time between infection and the onset of symptoms is ranged from 1 to 14 days; although, most infected persons show symptoms within five to six days. However, infected patients can also be asymptomatic, meaning they do not display any symptoms despite they are having the virus in their systems (Ajazeera cited in Ogunode, 2020).  In addition, it is possible for infected person without symptoms to spread the virus (Landry et al, 2020). To curtail the spread of the virus Karia el al (2020) advised that it is imperative to reduce human-to-human contact, disinfection of day-to-day objects and proper self-hygiene (washing, hands regularly, proper coughing and sneezing techniques, and wearing of face masks). In addition, social distancing plays a vital role in reducing the transmission

Corona viruses are common in certain species of animals, such as cattle, camels and bats and they can be easily transmitted to human beings. Some health experts believe that the new strain of coronavirus likely originated from bats or pangolins (Anthony et al, 2017). The first case of Covid-19 in Nigeria was announced by the Federal Ministry of Health on 27th February, 2020. This was the case of an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos, Nigeria on the 25th of February, 2020 (Maclean and Dahir, 2020). On 26th of the same month he was taken to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and tested when he fell ill. Since then, the numbers of confirmed cases of infection keep rising both in Nigeria and across the globe. Nigeria placed a travel ban on 13 countries with high cases of the virus, the countries are; United States, United Kingdom, South Korea, Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, China, Spain, Netherland, Norway, Japan and Iran. On 11th March 2020, World Health Organization (WHO) declared Covid-19 a pandemic. A pandemic is a disease that has spread across a large region; for instance, multiple continents or worldwide (Cucinotta and Vanelli, 2020). Following WHO’s communication, the Honourable Minister of Health announced that the Multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group led by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has immediately activated its National Emergency Operations Center. Since then, in less than 2 months, Nigeria has reached more than 50 cases across the country. Since then NCDC keeps and updates figures daily (Nigeria Education in Emergencies Working Group, NEiEWG, 2020).


Objectives of the Study

To find out if Covid-19 lockdown had negative impact on the economy of the place where the students stayed.

To determine the extent at which Covid-19 lockdown had adverse effect on the economy of Northern Nigeria.

To find out whether or not, members of their household had access to the basic needs during lockdown.

To find out the sources of the people surviving and their household members during lockdown.


Research Questions

Q1. Did Covid-19 lockdown has negative impact on the economy of the place where you live?

Q2.  To what extent did Covid-19 Lockdown has adverse effect on the economy of the Northern Nigeria?

Q3. To what extent did you and members of your household have access to basic needs during lockdown?

Q4. What was your source of surviving together with your household members during lockdown?


Literature Review

The outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic all over the world has disturbed the political, social, economic, religious and financial structures of the whole world. World’s topmost economies such as US, China, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and many others were at the verge of collapse. Covid-19 pandemic crisis has harmed the global economy and financial structure.  Also, many experts on economic and financial matters have warned about the worsening condition of global economic and financial structure (Irfan, 2020).

International Labour Organisation, (ILO) presents in its latest report that no matter where in the world or in which sector the crisis is having a dramatic impact on the world’s workforce, “Policy responses need to be focus on providing immediate relief to workers and enterprises in order to protect livelihoods and economically viable businesses, particularly in hard-hit sectors and developing countries (Covid-19, nd). On Covid-19 crisis situation, ILO further presented that an additional concern is the fact that in low and middle-income countries, the worst-hit industries and services have a high proportion of low-wage workers in informal employment, with limited access to health services and state welfare safety nets. Moreover, ILO said that without appropriate policy measures, workers face a high risk of falling into poverty and they would experience greater challenges in regaining their livelihoods during the recovery period. Furthermore, in urban areas, those workers who worked in economic sectors and who were not only having a high risk of virus infection but are also directly hit by lockdown measures are waste recyclers, street vendors and food servers, construction workers, transport workers and domestic workers. The lockdown measure could compel many of these workers significantly to return to rural areas.

The Covid-19 incident experienced worldwide has huge adverse effect on economies and production chains, harming millions of business people and entrepreneurs. The need for countries to discontinue the spread of Covid-19 infection through social distancing and border closures  resulted in business failures and the consequent loss of jobs that particularly affect entrepreneurs’ households and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) (IDB, 2020 cited in Castro and Zermeno, 2020).

Morgan (2021) affirms that youth play an integral role in the economy, and they drive forward ideas and innovation, and are front and center driving key economic changes throughout the global economy, including digitalization, automation, and climate action. He said study had statistically revealed that employment levels among this group have taken a major hit of Covid-19 pandemic with 8.7% employment loss for youth versus 3.7% for adults. He added that subsequently, with this impact to the job market, there is possible loss of potential lifetime earnings for youth. Moreover, the author pointed that study by the Urban Institute reported that, because youth would have less time to amass savings, they are put at risk because their “lower level of savings” could be diminished during the crisis, which may affect future financial security. Further added that according to the data the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) collected from international surveys, 90% of youth entrepreneurs experienced negative impacts on their business due to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak. Those negative impacts of Covid-19 on their business include disruption in distribution and supply chains, and reduced customer demand, with one-quarter of the surveyed youth entrepreneurs having to shut down their businesses completely.

Payce (2020) reported that impact of Covid-19 lockdown on households in Nigeria, Malawi, Uganda and Ethiopia caused many households to loss their incomes from five sources that include farm, business, wage, remittances and others. According to the report, income losses had been particularly severe in Nigeria, Uganda and Malawi, where a majority of households that relied on income for surviving from any of the five sources over a period of 12 months had lost their incomes as a result of the pandemic outbreak. Also, Ethiopia’s households had similar significant income losses due to the pandemic, but they were less likely to have lost income from each source except business income. Generally, across the four countries, business income was found to be most vulnerable to loss from the novel virus. In addition, wage income was generally found least affected, this might be due to the great number of wage workers that were working from home. The report further revealed that estimate of 256 million individuals in these four countries, 77% of the countries’ total population (lived in households) had lost incomes to the pandemic. Moreover, in response to this loss of sources of incomes among the households across the four countries, an estimated 33 million households were found applying a range of coping strategies to deal with the economic impact of the pandemic virus. Those strategies include selling of assets, relying on saving, and reduction of food or non-food consumptions, receiving helps from family members, government, or doing nothing. From the finding reported, the majority of Nigeria’s households in both rural and urban areas reduced their food consumptions in order to cope with the effect of the pandemic. Prior to this report, the author pointed out that more than 70% of the respondents in both rural and urban areas in Nigeria faced food insecurity since the onset of the Covid-19. However, in Ethiopia, Malawi and Uganda, the report revealed that majority of families in rural and urban settlements did not have to resort to a coping strategy, though, many Ugandans relied on their saving to survive. In South Sudan, UN Women (2020) reported that Coivd-19 lockdown measure paused small business that brought foods to many household tables.

UNDP (2020) asserted that three sectors of Nigeria such as services, trade and financial sectors which contributed over 30% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) had suffered significant disruptions as the outbreak of novel disease intensified in the country. In addition, contraction in these sectors might result in significant job losses both in the informal and formal job markets. This occurrence could be a severe blow and threat to instability as the percentage of unemployed and underemployed youth was already at 55% high.



Design of the study

This study employs descriptive survey research method to assess the impact of Covid-19 pandemic lockdown on the economy and households in the Northern Nigeria. We have observed that lockdown was experienced at different degrees of complete lockdown, partial lockdown and no lockdown at different places in the region.


Population of the study

This study focus on Northern Nigeria which comprises three geographical zones, namely, Northwest, Northeast and North Central. The region has a total of 20 states, and the zones have 7, 6 and 7 states respectively. Table 1 shows those zones and the states under them.


Table 1: Northern Nigeria Geographical Zones                                                                                                              

Sampling, Sample and Participants

The samples were obtained by random sampling, where one state was selected from each zone. These states include Adamawa (Northeast), Nasarawa (North Central), and Zamfara (Northwest). Students of Higher institutions in each of these states were the participating respondents. This study was carried out when the students were back to the school after the lockdown. Figure 1 shows the Northern parts of Nigeria. The red, orange and light orange colours on the map are Northwest, Northeast and North central respectively.

Research instrument and Data collection

Research questionnaire for this study was structurally produced in line with the current Covid-19 epidemic issue. It consists of four research questions which the respondents would be expected to read and response to by choosing from the options which are provided for each question. A total of 150 questionnaires were sent to each state and administered to students of higher institutions such as Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa (FPN) in Nasarawa state; Federal Polytechnic, Mubi (FPM) in Adamawa state and Federal University, Gusau (FUG) in Zamfara state. The students were instructed to read the questionnaires and response to the research questions by choosing from options provided. After the data collection, they were then statistically analysed using frequency count and percentage.

Results and Discussion

Covid-19 lockdown was imperative immediate proactive measure taken by the most governments of all levels in Nigeria to curtail and suppress the spread of the coronavirus. This action actually posed negative impact on the economy and the households of Nigeria.  Results in Figure 2 reveals that 78.6%, 87.2% and 85.6% respondents out of 145, 141 and 146 questionnaires returned from Adamawa, Zamfara, and Nasarawa respectively agreed that Covi-19 pandemic lockdown had negative impacts on the economy of the places where they were living, and 17.2%, 7.8% and 11.6% respondents disagreed, while 4.1%, 5% and 2.7% respondents were undecided.

Figure 2: Results for the research question that asks “Did Covid-19 Lockdown has negative impact on the economy of the place where you live?”

Figure 3 is the results for the research question which asked,” To what extent did Covid-19 lockdown has adverse effect on the economy of place?” The results reveal that those respondents who indicated that Covid-19 lockdown had very high extent impact on the economy of the place where they live are 38.6%, 36.2% and 47.9% from Northeast, Northwest and North central respectively. The results further reveal that those respondents who indicated high extent and average impact on economy are 17.2%, 26.2% and 29.5%; and 8.3%, 14.9 and 4.8% from North east, Northwest and North central respectively.. Furthermore, those who indicated low extent are 13.8%, 17%and 6.2%, while those who indicated very low extent are 15.9%, 6.4% and 9.6% respectively.

Figure 3: Results for the research question which asked,”To what extent did Covid-19 Lockdown has adverse effect on the economy of the place where you stay?”

The results of the research question which asked that, “To what extent did you and members of your household have access to basic needs during lockdown?” are shown in Figure 4. The results reveal that those respondents who accounted that they and their household had access to basic needs at very high extent during Covid-19 lockdown are 30.3% (Adamawa), 14.2%(Zamfara) and 9.6% (Nasarawa), while those respondents who accounted for high extent and average to the basic needs are 12.4%, 18.4% and 11%; and 18.6%, 41.8% and 35.6% respectively. In addition, 17.9%, 13.5% and 23.3% respondents from Adamawa, Zamfara and Nasarawa indicated low extent access to basic needs; and 19.3%, 11.3% and 18.5% respondents indicated very low extent access to the basic needs during the lockdown.

Figure 4: Results for the research question which asked that, “To what extent did you and members of your household have access to basic needs during Lockdown?”

Figure 5 reveals the results for the research question which asked, “What was your source of surviving and your household members during lockdown?” The results reveal that those respondents who indicated that their family incomes were the source of their surviving are 49%, 41.1% and 39.7% from adamawa, Zamfara and Nasarawa respectively, while those that indicated family member assistance are 15.9%, 17% and 19.2% respectively. Moreover, those who accounted that their sources of surviving were from the neighbour helps are 4.8%, 5.7% and 2.7% respondents, while those who accounted for saving as source of surviving during lockdown are 13.1%, 19.9% and 34.2% respondents from Adamawa, Zamfara and Nasarawa respectively. Those that survived through government palliative and non-governmental helps are 0.7%, 9.2%, 1.4%; and 15.9%, 6.4% and 2.7% in Adamawa, Zamfara and Nasarawa respectively. 

Figure 5: Results for the research question which asked, “What was your source of surviving and your household members during Lockdown?”



Covid-19 pandemic lockdown had great adverse effect on the Northern Nigeria economy, and many people in these geographical zones of Nigeria were not having access to the basic needs during the lockdown. In addition, many people survived Covid-19 pandemic lockdown through their family incomes, family member assistances, saving and neighbor helps.  Only few people were able to receive government palliative and Non-governmental organization assistances during the lockdown.


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