POSITIVE cases of Corona Virus COVID-19 killer in Nigeria are about to get to 300 while death recorded have passed half a dozen. This is sadly happening two days after the initially slated two weeks of stay-at-home directive of President Muhammadu Buhari in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States.
As at 11pm on Monday, March 23 , when the lockdown order commenced, Nigeria had only two deaths while the number of positive cases was not up to 40.
The federal government’s order was a measure to stop the spread of the COVID-19 to Nigeria’s hinterland because then, the cases were almost in all the three areas. Several states such as Anambra, Enugu, Rivers, Edo among others took cue from the federal government and issued directives to restrain or control public movements, crowded events, enforce hygiene and ensure personal, as well as, general safety in their domains.
The idea behind the directives was to guard against the importation of COVID-19 into interior states. Given the massive death toll being recorded around the world, even in countries with highly sophisticated healthcare system, on the disease, Nigerian governments (of federal and state levels) reasoned that if COVID-19 is allowed to come into Nigeria’s hinterland, the resultant casualty would be disastrous. Consequently, they took the lockdown or partial lockdown decisions as last resort, simply to save lives before anything else.
In most cases, the government prescribed a 14-day stay-at-home or closure of borders in their domain. Frantic efforts were made to daily enlighten or sensitize the citizens on the COVID-19 plague; build emergency hospitals to serve as prevention and isolation centres; import or direct local producers to manufacture Personal Protection Equipment (PPE); mobilize funds from public purse and private sector donors; enforce radical social actions to prevent communication of the disease from those who would have contracted it elsewhere to their citizens and distribute any form of economic incentive available to their populace. All to stop the stray of COVID-19 into the hinterland, because the disease has no cure and if it gets into the interiors it could cause mass deaths.
Moreso, by this nature, the plague is better not allowed at all because one person with it can transfer it to a whole community and a whole state. Worse, a carrier of the disease may not be aware of his or her health status until 14 days. By then, he would have passed it on to his family, friends, street, community and more. So, the states moved, with concern and zeal to save the lives of citizens through the 14-day stay-at-home directives. Even at its cost to states, the civil service was shut down.
But 16 days after, the disease have spread beyond the level it was prior to the lockdown. More states have recorded cases outside FCT, Lagos and Ogun. The rate of rise is worrisome. Experts mostly, blame the failure of citizens to heed to the stay-at-home directives of governments. Had the orders been implemented successfully, it would be easy to mark out those who carry the disease, treat them and the possible people they have transferred it to, and save the rest of the populace.
Similarly, had people stayed behind doors, it would be easier for states to fumigate public spaces and possibly do requisite door-to-door operations that is crucial for prevention of COVID-19. The indoor stay was to keep the plague in the homes of those who already had them and stop them from infesting the rest of the populace because they worship in the same center, work in the same office or shop in the same market.
Sadly, some disgruntled Nigerians saw in the COVID-19 fight, an opportunity to manipulate or extort the populace and the system. While some embarked on a campaign of tarnish or blackmail of state, others stirred sentiments of all manner from ethnic to religious and class biases to let the people break the lockdown rule.
Some law enforcement agents saw in it opportunities to fleece the people and hike their pockets. Clergymen flaunted the order to set trap for the politicians, rulers understandably, had to be circumspect in engaging the faith merchants lest they manipulate the minds of the teeming followers to vote against them in the next election.
At the end, all manner of people are now on the street despite the fact that the stay-at-home order specifically spell out who should be. Even as the directive still stands, the people who it is meant to protect have abused it. States appear at loss of how their good-intents have been turned to ill-intent.
From all corners of the country everybody now yell that hunger is killing him or her, and that the lockdown is one hell or inferno; fraudsters and protagonists of one unclear cause or the other push out diversionary messages to gain the system.
One looks at the street and weeps. We have once again burnt one of our few boats to cross a gushing wave. We should all pray for another vessel to come fast, because a look at COVID-19 casualty table breeds fear. Worse, the terror is real. No wonder we have a prevalence of suicide in recent time, this generation is suicidal.
Should the plague continue in its current pace none of us is sure to escape it – no matter how we hue, cry or vent. This generation seems to have chosen to be gullible to deception and ply the path to doomsday.
I will blame our stupidity if the situation worsens, not the government who acted the way they should, when a situation calls for hard decision to make between death and hard times.
Indeed, the lockdown comes with hard times including hunger and loneliness, but none of these compares to death. A spread of COVID-19 means death sentence to the masses. Anybody who disobeyed the directive of state on it (which is the best possible) brought the plague. The blame and blood wasted is on his or her head.
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