Home Opinion COVID19 Fight in Nigeria – A Motion-in-Stasis By Richard Abam

COVID19 Fight in Nigeria – A Motion-in-Stasis By Richard Abam


It all seems distant when the sounds of the novel Coronavirus, aka, COVID19 started trickling into Nigeria, then we only heard it as a far away plague that we will escape; as something that would have expired before it reaches the shores of Nigeria. We witnessed the hullabaloo it was causing in China, the epicenter of the virus, the panic, and the frantic motions that nation passed through. Even then, in the wisdom of the world, other nations thought it was just a ‘China thing’, in almost every part of the world the Chinese were accused of eating just about anything including earthworms and cockroaches and pointed to that as the reason the virus has broken out in that world’s most populous nation and were relaxed.

The Western nations, lead by almighty America waved it aside, that it will disappear in a couple of days, Europe dragged her feet in taking action and Africa was then free of the virus not until about March 2020 did Africa began to record cases of COVID19. The World Health Organization (WHO) was complacent in her response to the outbreak in China as it took the body weeks if not months to take tangible actions against what is likely, from the looks of things going to become a global health issue given the movement of people allowed at that time. For WHO to finally declare the virus a pandemic it has spread to every part of the globe, it has spread like wildfires and today it has made its home in America and a couple of nations still highly infected while gradually renting another home in Nigeria.

When it was still a story we hear back in the country, oh, it was like the Nigeria government were at the top of the situation, Nigerians were confident their government was efficiently prepared to put a handle on the now declared pandemic should it rear its ugly head in Nigeria. The President Mohammadu Buhari APC led government was busy, in fact over busy in their effort to make Nigeria COVID19 free. They set up agencies to complement existing health infrastructure in the country, budgeted and appropriated huge sums of monies to fight the deadly virus and bar it from entering the country and if at all it does find its way in, hinder its spread deep into the country.

To complement the government’s efforts wealthy citizens and private sector organizations began donating huge amounts to the federal government to help in the fight against COVD19 with the reality now dawning on the nation, as it has already dawned on other Asian, America and European nations that this man-made virus is not a China affair after all, but a world affair. The country was a beehive of activities as the government rolled out stringent measures to help curb the spread as the infections began growing gradually; from one to two, six, ten and like that COVID19, despite the inhuman methods adopted by the Nigeria governments, has finally made Nigeria a home. It might not be in the proportion of America or Australia, but it proved that we did not get it right and that all the while it was a motion in stasis-so much motion without movement. What is simply put in local parlance as ‘ever busy but doing nothing worth the while.”

Also Read: Nigeria’s Wishy-Washy Political Parties

We copied line and hook every control put in place by the West to fight the virus and Nigeria’s own, must, of course, be different. Why would anything that is done in Nigeria, even those copied from other nations not be done differently? It would be a taboo to not do it the peculiar Nigerian way and so in our fight against COVID19, it turned out to be a battle between the government against the people and the people on each other’s throat  When it became a reality that upon all the efforts Nigerian governments at the federal and states level made to shut out the virus failed, the fight shifted to containing it and it seems both approaches have also failed because every day new cases are been recorded and accompanying deaths thereof.

The government went into panic gear and shut down the entire nation. Educational institutions were closed, the health sector in the forefront of the fight realigned itself, all government activities were suspended or reduced to the barest minimum and most affected were the religious organization whom it seems the government targeted, but in reality that wasn’t the government’s intention but simply the Nigeria way of doing things, a poor approach to handling sensitive issues which mostly pitted Christian leaders against the government, the people against the government for to deny one the fellowship with his God is to deny him life and so Nigerians railed against what they saw as trampling on their religious liberties even after denying them their means of livelihood all in the name of fighting a virus. Nigerians didn’t get it, and they were right because it was all motion without movement at best.  

The most affected was Nigeria’s social life as it was simply snuffed out, citizen’s liberty seized by the government as movements were forcibly restricted, commercial activities shut down and the hopes of the majority of the hustling poor were forlorn about their survival. When the government was reminded that their COVID19 containment regime will effectively starve Nigerian to death than the virus itself they came up with what they called palliatives to cushion the effects of the social meltdown. It turned out a ruse, it was deceptive, lies; for what came of such palliatives was pitiful and better not told, but like everything Nigeria, lined the pockets of a few Nigerians instead.

The Nigeria Police Force personal were the greatest beneficiaries of the advent of the virus in Nigeria as the benefitted immensely from the distress of Nigerians. Nigerians, distraught from the denial of their rights to survive the crazy methods employed to fight the virus, devise every means possible to make a living and feed their families, but the police, empowered by an uncaring leadership descended on Nigerians with their wonted unintelligent and inefficient training to intimidate and then feed fat on the poverty of Nigerians as they fleece them, killed some and imprisoned others all in the name of fighting COVID19. But like their paymasters, all that bluster turned out only as a series of casual motions with no results.

Some state governors openly displayed their ignorance about everything, stupidly revealing to Nigerians and the outside world the kind of people Nigerians parade as leaders who mix their cowardice with hubris as they turned a sorrowful situation to a display of naked power testing the potency of their constitutionally conferred powers, which they have abused with impunity, on the fragile lives of suffering scarred Nigerians. Nigerians were made to pay for the coming of the virus into the world. For even the authoritarian regime in China, the origin of the virus did not treat their citizens the way the Nigeria governments at the federal and state levels did Nigerians; were after denying the citizens their rights to live as they see fit, the uncaring governments unleash terror on the people to express the powers conferred on them but sadly the powers conferred on the could not fight and stop the virus but only succeeded to fight and ruin the lives of not a few Nigerians with their incompetence and hubris. The state governors attitude in the fight against the virus was at best nonchalant and a mask to their avowed ignorance and deficiencies, and sadly the paid-for-pain they caused citizens, both senior and junior, amounted to motions without realistic movement forward as the virus is still on the rampage in the country and their respective states.

In the fight against COVID19 by the Nigerian government, six months after Nigerians schools are still shut tight and our children are languishing at home; businesses are still operating at half the cloak, even the operations of the mighty Nigerian government are at best skeletal and the Nigerians social life is yet to fully returned to normal after a rude disruption by the Chinese imported virus, and funny enough, all in the fight to contain, exterminate and achieve a Coronavirus free nation but has still largely remained a mirage as every effort put in place to stymie the spread of the virus proves ineffective and workable.

Rumors of a looming lockdown are rife in the nation, with the government not denying them shamefully admitting the utter failure of its billion naira fight against the virus. The authorities have gone back and forth on the reopening of schools, it took them long to unlock interstate borders freeing Nigerians from the greedy grip of the wanton policeman and now that interstate borders were thrown open the Nigerian police personal have recourse to face mask-wearing as a means to continue their money-making venture and profiteering from the COVID19 pandemic. Face mask-wearing is unnecessary in Nigeria as the virus, (luckily for us and not so much as the government’s effort, but due to divine intervention), isn’t so rampant like in America where the face mask is of uttermost importance because of the high rate of infections in that country.   

What Nigerians, should you test the air of opinion and feel the pulse of the nations, are saying to the government is please free us, let our children return to schools, let our churches and mosques reopen so that we can serve our God who in the first place is our help and succor from the pandemic. Nigerians are saying to this government thank you, you have tried, let us help you care for ourselves seeing that all you have done is like a man running very fast but circling round around without a substantial move forward.

And to sum up, the federal government of Nigerian fight against the virus, to be mild on the verdict is to say they have failed upon the loud noises made to secure the lives of Nigerians, upon the amount so spent and upon the pain caused Nigerians, they have simply failed to contain and possibly make the country a COVID19 free country. All, just about everything, failed and they are giving the nation conflicting signals of their next possible action, a real motion in stasis, like watching a movie in your imagination.

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