Covid-19 is not the only virus we are battling in Nigeria

Prior December 2019, the world was as peaceful as a prison yard even amidst Middle-East terrorism, American/Iran conventional threats after air-striking Iranian principal officer, Qussim Souleymani, by American “Eye in the sky” troupe. In fact, the deadly Boko Haram attacks in the northern part of Nigeria and cases of mass shootings in the US and some parts of Europe did not assemble amalgamated panic because they were and still peculiar threats to individual’s existence. Incidentally, in December 2019, the soon to become global ravage emerged as a traditional normal pestilence. However, it took less than a month for the scourge to prove its inimical effect on human existence!

According to the reports of Sarah Newey and Anne Gulland (April, 2020); Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause disease in animals. Seven, including the new virus have made the jump to humans, but most just cause cold-like symptoms.

However, Covid-19, a strain of the Coronaviruses (Sars) “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (2002/2003) and (Mers) “Middle East respiratory syndrome”(2012) which were reported to have infected about 8000 people, killed 800, infected 2,500 people and killed nearly 900, respectively, is different from these two other Coronavirus because the spectrum of disease is broad and volatile, with around 80 per-cent of cases leading to mild infection and symptoms.

Hence, many people may also be carrying the virus and displaying no symptoms, making it even harder to control!

The accidental wave of Covid-19 sporadically catapulted to nearly every country of the world through the primary source of “wet market” in Wuhan city of China. Wet market play host to myriad of traders dealing with both dead and live animals including fish and birds. Eventhough the animal source of the virus has not yet been ascertained or identified, however, such market pose a heightened risk of virus jumping from animals to humans because of the zero hygienic standard of such environment.

January 2020 was perfectly blossom like the past innocuous months that were filled with sporting activities, political power tussles of international communities and the entertainment world was quite satisfying to the unapologetic lovers of cinemas. In the same January 2020, the airlines were speedily jetting from one location of the world to the other.

Unfortunately, by February 2020 came with partial concerns and worries about the perilous threats that the unnoticeable potent coronavirus projected. Thus, the country that put other countries of the world on their toes was Italy. The country was the first after China to be badly hit with the unarguably worst biological attack on humanity in recent time! As soon as Italy was counting fatalities in thousands around March 2020, the rest of the European countries started falling apart with speedy increasing number of cases in Spain, UK, France, Germany and others.

Conversely, the US has a separate experience of the ravaging virus as the world most successful country not just taking the lead in numbers of both infection and fatality but also has more than 50 percent of the total cases in the universe. Hence, certain numbers of people including experts analysed that tardy earlier response by both the US and WHO parachuted the alarming figures of infectious cases. In fact, president Donald Trump used to call it “Chinese virus”. Unfortunately, this lackadaisical personal response of his to the ravaging virus would later in the same year cost him his re-election to the Apex political seat of the country. In fact, not even his mythical assurance to the Americans that the “virus would just disappear miraculously”, could earn him the so much desired presidential seat.

It was quite miraculous that the world most poverty-stricken continent of Africa that could not boast of 20 percent adequacy in the public healthcare system was descendingly counting the scores of infections and ineffective fatalities when compared to the rest of the continents. One almost accepted the conspiracy theory of the fact that the virus could barely survive in the hot atmosphere of Africa, until science proved otherwise.

Hence, the lingering doubt about the veracity of the virus being an hoax soon drastically dropped with sporadic rise in infection cases in Egypt, South Africa, Algeria, Nigeria and others.

Covid19 would probably have been hastily forgotten if it has limited its ravaging on health! But, the pandemic forcefully took the livelihoods of most especially, the poor and the less privileged.

In Nigeria for example, a country that nearly 70 percent of her citizens live below $1 per day, was quick to effect total lockdown on every sector (private and public) without a forensic system of easing the accidental hardship on the poor through even, equitable and effective palliative formula.

How do you take life out of a man just to safe him from death? In Nigeria, it is a case of two simultaneous wars; Covid-19 pandemic and hunger epidemic. This is a country where less than 5 percent of her yearly graduate turnouts is gainfully employed or engaged in the last 15 years. How do you seal your mouth with facemask without mouthing two unconventional but conditional square meal in a day? No doubt coronavirus took and still taking away valuable lives. As at the time of concluding this project, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control has recorded so far over 1000 casualties of the ravaging virus.

However, the casualties of the severe lockdown with huge palliatives on papers and none on the fields could not make the conscious register of the Nigerian government. It was unapologetically amazing that the deprived citizens of the country had to locate their rations of palliatives being housed at various government’s wherehouses. Thus, the authority was quick to baptist the act “Looting”!

It was a year an average Nigerian would want to flip over hastily. Unfortunately, the events of the year kept crawling at the slowest pace in unleashing its programmes. Just when the country was taken transient breathe of relief from Covid19, the most unified and justifiable peaceful protest in the history of the country turned watersheds, no thanks to the brutalities of the military that came as thieves in the night to kill and brutalise innocent protesters at the popular Lekki Toll Plaza. 20 October, 2020 would forever be remembered by everyone  who wanted change in our policing system.

The #ENDSARS protest was a golden bold step taken by vibrant youth of the country, not only to end police brutality but also reform the absolutely rotten security system of the country. But, this ingenious idea of reform was welcome by the authority with live bullets. What do you make out of the government in which her mouthpiece loudly voiced that Lekki massacre was “bloodless”. I have not heard of any massacre on earth being bloodless. Probably, he wanted to say the military mopped the blood of the protesters heavily flowing on Lekki alsphat and carted away their souls and bodies! Therefore, they did a good job to make the massacre bloodless even when international media reported phases of forensic investigative footages of the massacre.

It initially looked like it was going to be a thanksgiving December for those of us who miraculously made it. But quite unfortunate, the anxious consciousness to merry during Christmas and fun-filled the coming of the year 2021 was nipped in the bud by the resurgence of the second wave of coronavirus with the addition of new strain of the virus, notoriously registered in the UK and strutly spreading across nations.

Though human existence is guaranteed until the end of time, but outright eradication of these viruses gloomily impossible, even with brilliant emergence of the vaccines.

Alabi Akeem Olawale


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