The latest COVID-19 updates will scare you more than you can’t panic. As much as not everyone acknowledges the existence of a Supreme Being – or has lost faith, everyone prays for this to pass.
As at today, Monday, March 23, 2020, Nigeria has confirmed thirty-six (36) cases. Two cases have been discharged, and with heavy heart, one death from COVID-19 has been recorded.
The 1st #COVID19 death in Nigeria has been recorded. The case was a 67 year old male who returned home following medical treatment in UK
He had underlying medical conditions- multiple myeloma & diabetes & was undergoing chemotherapy
Our thoughts are with his family pic.twitter.com/A7STOjTQeW
— NCDC (@NCDCgov) March 23, 2020
The numbers keep increasing and no one can determine if the pandemic will end anytime soon. Economies are being affected. Businesses forced to shut down. Religious houses asked to stop holding prayers. Schools asked to closed down till further notice, etc. It is not just another diseases lurking around, this one is asking for too much.
And so, while prophets of supposed wisdom say this is God’s punishment for man’s inhumanity and outright continuous disobedience, there are others asking the Nigerian government to shut down concentrated areas of the coronavirus: Lagos and Abuja.
Lagos has twenty-five (25) confirmed cases, Abuja has six, and there are indications that the affected might have thrown warm hugs to people they have had contact with in the past few days/week. It is for this that people insist that the government eliminate ideas that the economy will be greatly affected, and that people who feed from daily income be directed to stay home – in fact, everyone should stay home.
One state government has responded considerably well.
Breaking….!!! Lagos State civil servants from Grade Level 1-12 should stay at home for the next 14 days with effect from tomorrow 23rd of March, 2020 – – – @jidesanwoolu @drobafemihamzat @JokeSanwoolu @YArobieke @gboyegaakosile @Mr_JAGs @LSMOH @Fmohnigeria @Oreoluwa_Finnih pic.twitter.com/3nn99ARs3j
— The Lagos State Govt (@followlasg) March 22, 2020
In furtherance of measures introduced to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, (COVID-19), the Lagos State Government has directed scavengers to immediately vacate all refuse dumpsites@jidesanwoolu @drobafemihamzat #LASG #ForAGreaterLagos pic.twitter.com/yVFwyCC6gy
— The Lagos State Govt (@followlasg) March 23, 2020
This is apart from the closure of schools, the lockdown of churches and mosques, the reduction of passengers on commercial buses. One thing still remains open: the markets. Let’s get back to that.
Sometime yesterday, the son to former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar was confirmed positive and mixed reactions have trailed in. Still in Abuja, one Salihu Umar confirmed that he was on a flight with someone that was tested positive:
Someone on my flight tested positive, that is to say everyone on that flight has been exposed.
Although, I’m in self isolation, time to go get tested ASAP.
— Salihu Umar (@Necessary_Cho) March 23, 2020
And when his test results came out:
I have just tested positive for COVID19.
At the moment, I am still under self isolation as health personnel make their way to my house for evacuation to Gwagwalada isolation centre.
My neighbours and employer have been notified accordingly.
— Salihu Umar (@Necessary_Cho) March 23, 2020
This is another eyeliner to the fact that if the lockdown remains partial, then COVID-19 has come to stay. Is Nigeria ready for that?
This is what people have to say about a necessary lockdown:
If I were Buhari, I'd put Gwagwalada on #LockdownNow; in fact, the whole of FCT: and then, Lagos also.
The time to act is now!
But as I look at this picture, all I hear is silence! pic.twitter.com/n2xeb8aseb
— Professional beggar (@Sheddi_younG) March 23, 2020
— Ibrahim adedayo (@ibroadedayo) March 23, 2020
Why did we even bother telling people not to attend church yesterday ,Have you seen computer village today? .#LockdownNow
— WALERGY ⚓ (@walergy) March 23, 2020
— olalere Sodiq olanrewaju (@sodexski) March 23, 2020
I think states like Lagos and Abuja should be on #LockdownNow
We need to stem the tide of #COVID19 #CoronaVirusNigeria by forcibly limiting contact and possible exponential spread.
Will it be easy?No! Governance & being responsible for people isnt easy but there is always a way pic.twitter.com/2a9Bo7oaCN
— Dipo Oyewole (@DipoOyewole) March 23, 2020
So, it is not a request to lock down areas where the virus is most concentrated, it is a necessity! Especially if the intention is to do away with the virus from the country.
Yet, a lockdown for the country’s commercial hub and capital?
Let’s do a list:
- Widespread poverty is no longer news in a country like Nigeria. Many Lagos residents live below the poverty line. Hardly live in conducive environments. Do not breathe in fresh air (in the real sense of it). Have NO ACCESS to clean water. Struggle to live through a mentally draining transportation system, etc. But that’s not all. Many Lagos residents can only feed themselves if they go out to sell something; everyday in markets, in traffic, in their streetside shops… whatever happens when they are asked to sit at home? It’s no different with Abuja residents.
- There are still companies asking their employees to either resume at the office or risk unemployment. So, when the government says ‘lockdown’, the employer says otherwise.
- Still on poverty. People are asked to stock their houses with groceries, fruits, Vitamin C, and food they will need for the next 30-days or so. Interesting how we can say this easily when not many people can afford a 3-square meal.
- Too many people in Lagos and Abuja still believe ‘there’s no virus anywhere’, ‘it is just a hoax’ and will, therefore, disregard the need for a lockdown.
- Religious houses are a reported conduit pipe in Lagos and Abuja. Will the religious leaders ask their sheep to observe a lockdown?
- Electricity is more epileptic than we can use a better word for. When we do a lockdown and people stay home, how do we anything with stable power?
- Mobile network companies have still not thought of adjusting to this forced change and provide cheaper services. This is an opportunity! Besides, do we need to ask for better data services?
This list is non-exhaustive but while we consider these things, we should also remember that it is only when there’s life, that another activity can take place.
If only the government can provide for people who can’t afford to stay at home…
But guys, let’s stay safe!
Omoleye Omoruyi… an apprentice web/game developer, novelist, sensitive to happenings in the world. Meet him @Lord_rickie on Twitter/Instagram