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Covid 19 And The Nigerian Tragedy: A Nation Dancing on Landmines

By Amb. Gabriel Ashibi.

On the 31st Dec. 2019,  the World Health Organization (WHO) office in China heard the first reports of a new virus behind a number of Pneumonia cases in Wuhan,  a city in Eastern China.
Incidentally, what started as an epidemic mainly limited to China has now become a global pandemic. This disease has been detected in almost all countries across the globe with over 3million confirmed cases resulting in about 220, 000 deaths.

As it is,  this pandemic poses as one of the biggest health and economic challenge to our generation as the world seems to be in a total shut down. Countries across the globe are in a state of confusion as each one struggles to keep their citizens safe while all local and international engagements in the political,  business,  entertainment,  sports,  tourism and virtually all sectors have come to an abrupt halt.
The Chinese government response to the initial outbreak of the virus was to place Wuhan and its nearby cities under quarantine. Special palliatives measures were designed in order to provide survival for its citizens while they stayed at home in order to enable authorities curtail the spread of the dreaded virus.

The US which has become the epicentre of the covid 19 outbreak with over 1 million cases have witnessed most of its cities on lockdown while palliatives in form of cash,  food and other relevant facilities are provided to help citizens maintain the stay at home exercise.

The story is also the same with Italy,  Spain,  France,  UK and many other countries. 

In Nigeria however,  the situation started with us watching the crisis play across the world with a vague belief that the problem will never come down to us. It was viewed as a white man's disease and that the melanin in the black man's skin is immune to the corona virus.

Unfortunately, the first case of the virus in Nigeria was confirmed on Feb. 27th ,  2020. It was an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and had returned from Italy on Feb 25th.

As at April 30,  2020,  the National Council for Disease Control records showed that Nigeria already had 1, 932 cases with 58 deaths from the deadly coronavirus.  
At the close of day on May 1st,  2020,  the NCDC reported 238 new cases of Covid 19 which represented one of the highest daily tallies giving the nation a total of 2170 cases thereby topping the regional coronavirus tallies in West Africa.

With this undeniable fact that covid 19 has already found a thriving ground in Nigeria,  the leadership and the led are now faced with the reality on ground on how to survive this global mayhem or we all get consumed by it.
Nigeria, a nation limped by a ramshackle leadership where ethnicity,  religion,  nepotism and greed had over the years crumbled all efforts at nation building,  how do we hope to fight the covid 19 war?
For example,  the Nigerian medical situation has always been one in which a privileged few fly out of the country for medical attention abroad where they enjoy better equipped health facilities. But with the global impact of covid 19,  everyone is now stocked in the country and share in the rot of our dilapidated health and other social amenities.
With increasing cases of the Covid 19 reported nationwide everyday,  the world might soon begin to witness the gradual fall of the once respected giant of the continent who is proving clearly that it lacks the health and economic facilities to fight the pandemic.

While other nations are upgrading their health facilities and providing adequate palliatives to its citizens in order to meet with  the demands of fighting the pandemic,  Nigeria cannot even boast of common food for its lockdown citizens let alone afford stable health facilities such as ventilators and isolation centres to curb the crisis.
However,  billions upon billions of Naira has been donated to the national coffers in the fight against the deadly virus but all seems to be entering into the private coffers of fraudulent leaders in high places.
Nigeria as a nation has sold crude oil in commercial quantity for over 53 years and believed to have squandered about $25 trillion dollars on fantasies led by a sect of greedy,  corrupt and reckless leaders leaving the country to be considered as the poverty capital of the world.

While other nations are easing lockdowns on basis that the number of daily infections has reduced drastically and death tolls at its lowest,  Nigeria is easing restrictions at a time when number of cases are rising and death toll is on the increase.
In Kano for instance,  about 80% of samples received from communities in the state are testing positive for the virus.
Now that no vaccine is around the corner for the treatment of the disease,  social distancing is almost impossible,  no widespread testing and contact tracing,  no adequate health facilities and isolation centres while govt is acting broke at a critical moment like this,  Nigeria is definitely dancing on landmines with the ease on restriction from Monday 4th. 
This is undoubtedly the beginning of the real war.
As much as you can,  stay isolated,  wear face masks,  wash your hands regularly as the times ahead look even more delicate than where we are coming from. Above all,  share food and love to needy around u.. 

Gabriel Ashibi is the initiator of the #HumanityFirst Campaign and the National Coordinator of the youth takeover Movement.
He writes from Abuja.

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