Pandemic.

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People hung around in irregular clusters.

Conversing in hushed tones that sometimes rose excitedly in arguments. 

Arguments that centred around the COVID-19 global pandemic and it’s devastating effects. 

The race for a vaccine and possible cure.

It’s frightening transmission statistics and daily mortality rates.

Long-term socio-economic and cultural impacts. 

As well as Bio-warfare conspiracy theories that ranged from the empirically logical to the comically absurd.

Finally.

Conversations tilted towards the aloof indifference of government at all tiers.

Who.

Clearly not prepared for a pandemic.

As evident in the scarcity of palliative welfare packages and timely relief response programmes for citizens. 

Had no contingent plan for such an eventuality.

Yet.

Same government deemed it fit to declare a 14 day stay at home order.

Which was activated at 11 hundred hours on the 30th day of March 2020 and comprised of a combined security team of enforcers.

Including but not limited to combatants of the Nigerian Army.

Officials of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps as well as the pathetically incorrigible men of the Nigerian Police.

Who scrupulously exploited citizens.

Impounding vehicles and motorcycles on flimsy pretexts.

From drivers and riders who had braved the odds to make a fast buck for the next meal with family and dependants.

These vehicles were only released once “Egunje” exchanged hands.

The combined security team cordoned off strategic points within the economic port city of Lagos-Nigeria.

Enforcing strict compliance of the Federal Government’s state of emergency. 

As i drove through the city.

Taking care to pass through back roads to avoid the enforcement teams.

Enjoying the luxury of riding in this city without endless honks and toots. 

Go slows and gridlock.

I finally bumped into a combined security team of policemen and LNSC at Akowonjo roundabout.

Between Santos and Williams estates.

One of the enforcers flagged me down.

A pot bellied police officer with a scar that ran down the length of his right cheek.

He reeked of stale alcohol and the bittersweet whiff of Marijuana. 

Armed with a casually slung rifle dangling on one shoulder he scrutinized me before leaning a little too close to the driver’s side.

  • Then hiopened his lips to reveal a set of tobacco stained teeth.

And a gut wrenching breath that smelt like rotten fish.

“Weh done sir may i know you?”

Struggling to hold my breath i replied.

“Good afternoon officer i am… and i work with a company that’s been exempted from this lockdown… here are my state government issued papers”

“Bros u dey vex o”

“How?”

“Which one u dey yarn Queens English na… u mean as everywhere red so you nor fit stretch your pikin something?”

“My pikin never dey carry gun abeg”

He cocked his head sideways.

Eyeing me slyly then smiled.

“Oga e never reach quarrel na… oya find your brother small something to take see road fight this Corona”

“Officer i nor dey carry money waka… u nor here say to go ATM na suicide now… coro dey waka on top iron and i never wan kpai”

He laughed long and hard till tears filled his eyes.

Then whispered conspiratorially.

“Forget that thing… na big man and oyibo dey sick am”

“Officer nor go there o”

“Cool down bros we wey dem put for road so nor get face mask and we never contact coro”

“na true o officer how una take dey do am?”

Winking mischievously he whispered.

“I nor know about others o but me get Bendel insurance”.


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