COVID-19; Nigeria’s Systemic Recklessness

COVID-19; Nigeria's Systemic Recklessness


By Kawthar Omisore

I had heard about the viral corona, everybody was posting one thing or the other about it, but no one seemed to be doing anything about it. I heard the price of face masks had drastically escalated in the market, but still, no one around seemed to be taking things seriously. No one. At least not until a few days back. Apparently, my girlfriends had decided we needed to treat ourselves to a few hours at the cinema before having to get on the roller coaster of the coming week. It ended on a bad note for me.

Unfortunately, I had caught a cold the night before; an aftereffect of washing under the midnight droplets. I had woken up to a monstrous headache and all day long I battled with persistent sneezing, it was almost as though my head would come off any minute. But having promised my girlfriends they’ve got me all to themselves that evening, duty behoved me to tag along, and I did.
Some minutes into the movie and I seemed to be the centre of attention. I was getting weird glances thrown my way and for a minute I thought they had got to be admiring my undeniably gorgeous outfit, but I was wrong. The lady beside me moved two seats away and beckoned to her sons to do the same, lest they contacted the virus. It didn’t hit immediately. I just thought she wanted to be more comfortable, but when she stared hard at the hanky I held to my nose, and the way I wrapped it nicely into my pant pockets, it all came to me. She thought I had the virus. Understanding her fears, but feeling awkward, I turned my gaze back to the movie.

After a while, I sneezed again and this time, it lasted close to a minute. And soon, a voice bellowed from behind me, “Wetin sef! You wan kill us? Please don’t give us Corona o”
It didn’t end there, as I was later aggressively ushered out with my friends by one of the strange stands by security men, who I somehow didn’t notice when we first came in.

It was no doubt an embarrassing day for us. So, far from being embarrassed, and for my own safety, I did some major research on the Covid-19. Apparently, the virus is said to originate from Wuhan in China, caused by a member of the Corona virus family that has never been encountered before, which thus explains why there’s no vaccine for it yet. Gotten from animals, there lies an uneasy truth- there are some peculiarities associated with different creatures, the borderline of which is to be accorded it’s due respect.

Following reported cases of deaths caused by the Corona virus in some countries, Nigeria in a bid to protect her most treasured value-her citizens’ life, has gone on a myriad of preparation so that perhaps the virus decides to visit her country through a white-skinned channel; her people will be well protected.

The question to be asked which though seem unnecessary as she was preparing for that which will later be accepted by her personnel on sighting her  skin colour is that “what happened to the adequate preparedness and proactive measures taken” as stated by the honourable Minister of Health, Mr Osagie Ehanire. Quoting him,
“The level of preparedness is high to stop the importation of Coronavirus (Covid-19) to the country, as the ministry has continued to strengthen its response plan”

“The Federal Government has continued to strengthen surveillance at four international airports of Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano and Abuja to prevent the virus from getting to Nigeria. Facilities are mounted in those airports to detect any passenger with high temperature.”

Contrary to this, The Senate not quite long released that “There is no form of screening for Coronavirus on immigrants coming into the country by Nigerian officials at the airport. In the words of Senator Ajayi Borofice, “In South Africa, we were not allowed to leave the aircraft for 30 minutes. Officers of the medical corps came into the aircraft and screened everybody before we were allowed to go out, but I arrived yesterday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport and there was no screening”

A mystery, yet unrivalled to me, however, is how a country who deemed it fit to allocate #2000naira in her 2020 budget for the healthcare of each of her estimated 200 million citizens could allocate 620million naira as intervention fund for Corona virus.

Ironically, though not impulsive, the mode of entrance into Nigeria is not in any way endemic to the means by which the Ebola came into Nigeria. The truth is, the Ebola outbreak handout curriculum was never detailed enough for Nigeria to cart home her lessons as it seems that Nigeria is more comfortable with managing than preventing.

However, amidst all the hullabaloo of Corona virus, there still seems to be a silver lining for Africa, granted to us by our powerful spiritual forces especially that of Nigerian considering the fact that there is a very suspicious low rate of Corona virus infection despite the already damaged Nigerian health system.

Nevertheless, through adequate measures, effective systems, proper scrutiny, and adequate enlightenment of her citizens, Nigeria is better safeguarded against any further outbreak or even the total eradication of the virus in her country.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Tell!’s editorial stance

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