Last night, the last person anyone would have expected to be personally affected by the spread of the Coronavirus gave a statement via Twitter. Former vice-president Atiku Abubakar has been one of the country’s foremost statesmen and has been proactive about the Coronavirus pandemic, advising citizens to self-isolate and practice social distancing and pressuring the government to take decisive action.
My son has tested positive to coronavirus. @NCDCGov has been duly informed, and he has been moved to Gwagwalada Specialist Teaching Hospital in Abuja for treatment and management. I will appreciate it if you have him in your prayers. Stay safe, coronavirus is real. -AA
— Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) March 22, 2020
While we don’t know which of his sons contracted the virus and we are not sure how he was infected, we hope this finally puts to rest all the rumours and fake news that have been spread about the Coronavirus.
The Coronavirus is not just an ‘foreign’ illness, it is not government propaganda to restrict the rights of Nigerians, its not an opportunity to rig elections. It is real, and unless we all practice social distancing and take the necessary precautions to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus, we are all in trouble.
Yesterday, many Nigerian religious and social organizations blatantly ignored government directives to restrict public events to less than 20 people per event, they haven’t practiced social distancing even when they are out and about. Even actress Eniola Badmus, who just returned from the UK was seen on the set of a film, shaking hands with children and making jokes about the Coronavirus with Funke Akindele who ironically, is the Nigerian celebrity ambassador for the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). This kind of widespread irresponsibility will accelerate the spread of the Coronavirus and cause many people to die.
We simply do not have the medical support to handle a widespread pandemic, even flattening the curve is a last resort solution, not a first line of defense. A first line of defense would have been to close our borders and only allow Nigerians into the country.
We can still beat this if we stop treating this like its a myth and start taking our collective health seriously. To find out more, watch this livestream.