COVID-19: Massive explosion looms in Nigeria

Posted by News Express | 11 April 2020 | 1,216 times

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 As at Friday, April 11, the total number of global infection was 1,623,130. About 97,235 have died from the infection while 366,407have recovered after receiving treatment. With no generally approved cure or vaccine, the World Health Organisation, WHO recommended social distancing and temporary lockdown as a method to stop further spread of the pandemic.

Despite the adoption of those measures in Nigeria, the country’s  infection numbers have been on the rise since March when the first imported case was detected. From just 10 infected persons in late March, the number has steadily risen to 288 as at yesterday. Although the death rate has been relatively low, there are clear indications that both infection and death rate may soon spike due to gradual disregard for WHO guidelines.

For in stance, despite the lockdown measures put in place by the federal government in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun, to contain the pandemic, hundreds of residents including government officials still flagrantly disregard the social distancing directive. Last week, a scene in Lagos Island where a popular politician was distributing paltry relief items caught the attention of many. Scores of poor residents with no regard for social distancing were seen scrambling to get handful of tomatoes and N1,000.

Another incident in the Abule-Egba area of Lagos, where residents were sighted scrambling for the state’s meagre food palliative also raised concerns of a likely spread of the Covid-19 disease through such avenues.

The crowd at the temporary food bank depot was unprecedented. There was lack of order as everyone struggled to get the attention of the government officials distributing the food items. There was also no presence of health officials for possible screening of the residents.

There have also been reported cases of such scenes in Abuja, Ogun and other states with relative low number of infections.

Aside the very condemnable action of some residents who are faced with the hard decision of starving or obeying the government orders, the action of some government officials are also contributing to the concern of a more devastating and catastrophic increase in the number of infections and deaths in the coming days.

For instance, On Monday, during the arraignment of Nollywood actress Funke Akindele and her husband AbdulRasheed Bello for flouting the state’s social distancing directive, a crowd comprising of security agencies, state prosecution team, journalists and sympathizers heralded the couple to the court.

A head count revealed that there were more than 40 people in the crowd. Ironically, the scene at the magistrate court was far more chaotic compared to the numbers of persons present at the couple’s home for which they were been arraigned.

A far worst incident of disregard for social distancing occurred again on Wednesday during the arraignment controversial hip-hop star, Azeez Fashola, aka, Naira Marley. In spite of the lockdown still in place to check further spread of the coronavirus, dozens of fans of the singer, were at the premises of Ogba Magistrate Court to show support for their idol. The fans who were no fewer than 200, came to show massive support for Marley who was to be arraigned on Wednesday alongside a politician, Babatunde Gbadamosi and his wife, Folashade Gbadamosi for contravening the COVID-19 induced social distancing directives of the Lagos State Government.

There was pandemonium outside the court premises when Naira Marley and his co-defendants were being driven away by the police after the four-count charges against them. There was a huge stampede with loud cries of “Marlians” by the fans some of whom ran after the police vehicles to catch a sight of the singer. The security officials present had to fire some gunshots in the air to disperse the fans.

There are similar scenes in many places especially in super markets and market places where only food items are allowed to be sold. People still cluster so close, disregarding the social distancing directive. It is also easy to liken their attitudes to ignorance in many places, the campaigns in the media notwithstanding.

Worried about the consequences of these public disregard for government directives, the Lagos State Task Force of Covid-19, warned earlier in the week that cases of community infections were beginning to surface in some areas.

Giving a breakdown of the spread of the virus, the state commissioner of health, Akin Abayomi noted that there have been an upsurge of cases possible from community infection.

Some concerned Nigerians express worry over the issue.

A senior public relations practitioner, Kenneth Eze said that it is quite worrisome that those who are expected to lead by example, are the ones breaking the law.

He said: ‘There’s a general feeling of tiredness, mostly mental across the country. It’s not limited to public servants or government officials. The significant difference is that some are expected to lead by example, particularly government officials.

“However, I must admit that the so called government officials cannot keep to social distancing, because that wouldn’t condone the recklessness and sharp practices they are used to. The code of politicking is divide and rule which thrives on secrecy.”

Also reacting to the trend, an entrepreneur, Paul Orajiaka who has been promoting a campaign for proper hygiene and social distancing said the disregard for the government directive must be tackled immediately.”

He said: “It’s quite pathetic that some people are yet to fully understand that this COVID-19 fight can only be won by a collective effort. This virus doesn’t move, people move the virus. So, you do your part by observing social distancing, I do my part, everyone does their part and this virus would not be able to travel from one person to another. It’s that simple.”

Underscoring the dangers in disregarding the social distancing directive, Executive Director, Cadrell Advocacy Centre, Evans Ufeli, said: “The disregard for social distancing by the public and government officials in relation to the fight against COVID19 has become a cankerworm, eating deeply into the fabrics of national order.

“This perhaps is coming from the place of  a very discreet act of indiscipline, where people throw caution to the wind and act as though nothing has changed in the scheme of things. Much more than legislation, sanctions regulations and orders, Nigerian citizens suffer from a huge deficit in the  compliance index of law and order and this has increased their misery and affliction ratio.”

“In Lagos State recently, we saw how Nigerians, including officials of the Lagos state government trooped out in large numbers, disregarding the social distancing order of the governor in a bid to prosecute an offender of the same act with which they were all caught in camera violating. It appears to me that Nigeria is in a silent class strata battle which this plague has made manifest.” (Saturday Vanguard)

 

 

 


Source: News Express

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