Lockdown and the Nigerian Experience



In a swift effort to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019, authorities all over the world have come up with measures purposefully aimed at achieving that solemn goal. From the worst-hit countries by the pandemic to those relatively hit. From the most developed nations, to the developing, to the underdeveloped nations.

We have seen series of measures, guidelines: strict and mild in an effort to further lead the battle against COVID_19. A disease which the United Nation Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says: “The extraordinary upheaval spurred by the virus presents a real danger to the relative peace the world has seen over the last few decades.

The disease “represents a threat to everybody in the world and… an economic impact that will bring a recession that probably has no parallel in the recent past,” he said.

“The combination of the two facts and the risk that it contributes to enhanced instability, enhanced unrest, and enhanced conflict are things that make us believe that this is the most challenging crisis we have faced since the Second World War.” Some people have gone further to state that even if, rather hilariously that it is the World War 3.

The bottom line is that the vast majority of the world’s population sees it as a grave threat that warrants people making sacrifices. Perhaps that explains the impetus our leaders had to give directives aimed at restricting people’s movement with a view to curbing the spread of the novel virus.

This has led to lockdown from different continents, countries, geo_political zones, Provinces, states, counties, cities, towns, villages and hamlets. The lockdown has been wholly or partially imposed on all these places. From Wuhan, Xiaogan, Milan, London, New York, Tehran, Madrid, Brussels, Berlin, Lagos, Kigali, Johannesburg, New Delhi, Paris, Manila, Buenos Aires etc . From all the nooks and crannies of the world.

Here in Nigeria, the Federal government and some states have also followed suit and imposed different means and level of restrictions within their domains all with the aim of containing the spread of the virus. These efforts seem to be yielding positive results in some places to a large extent. While in some, it has provided avenue for grand exploitation of the citizenry allegedly by those who should know better and do better in protecting the rights of the citizens.

The lockdown has been more effective so far so good in the developed countries of the world. The logic for this is not far-fetched. It is as a result of the world class facilities and institutions in those countries. These facilities and institutions have aided in the effectiveness of the lockdown. You cannot confine a people without facilities or rather basic needs like: portable water, food, shelter. Some of our people roam without a place to call home. Let alone think about other things like electricity and others that have alleviated the effects of lockdown in Europe, America and other parts of the world.

This factor coupled with other factors have made the lockdown less effective or even outrightly ineffective in so many parts of the world. The chief factor as I have said have to do with lack of facilities and necessities like food, water and shelter. You cannot confine a ravenous man to his house or any person at all let alone a famished person and anticipate them to comply voluntarily. It is highly unlikely!

So, that is why we have had shortcomings and even heard of alleged confrontations between the security personnel and the citizens in some parts of Nigeria. I am stickler for abiding by the laws and have sheer respect for constituted authorities. But it will not prevent me from asserting my views on why no matter how equipped, advanced and effective our security personnel are. They cannot prevent someone whose foodstuffs have exhausted and last ate more than 24 hours ago. It is a well established fact that a hungry man is an angry man. Thus, anticipate a furious display in an effort to survive.

While I am against breakdown of law and order, we must decipher that there is a connection between hunger and their behaviours to a large extent. Therefore, Nigerian government must do more than they have done in order to mitigate the hardships the people face as a result of this.

Firstly, I think it will not be out of place if salaries are paid earlier than usual for civil servants, as so many people have suggested. Secondly, the most vulnerable members of the society should be truly supported just as the government has started. This should be encouraged and improved upon for even better result.

I am excited to have heard the members House of Representatives seeking for two months free electricity for Nigerians. I hope it will be granted. This and anything that will be done to help Nigerians at this tensed moment should be encouraged. Thirdly, immediate members of various communities across the nation should voluntarily help their neighbours and all those in need that they can help. This will go a long way in complementing the efforts of government. For this is a collective responsibility.

Going forward, we have to support government in all ways we can. To put it better, we must all support ourselves. For supporting the constituted authorities to curb the spread of COVID_19 is directly supporting ourselves against a novel virus that has the potentials to cause even more harm to the world. Thus, all Nigerians must play an active role in fighting and defeating coronavirus disease 2019. As we all long for the priceless taste of normalcy, in the most populous black nation on earth. Together we can!

Abdulrazak Iliyasu Sansani can be contacted on Facebook for further discussion.

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