Nigeria: Covid-19 - Lord Have Mercy

27 March 2020
opinion

In all my fifty-something years on planet earth, I have never seen or imagined a thing that would shake the whole world to its very foundation like what the affliction called COVID-19 is doing to humanity.

It is simply scary. Mankind is galloned full with fright and oodles of death. Some even think all these are a prologue to the much-talked about Armageddon in the Holy Books.

It is even worse that we all, including the avowed technologically advanced countries are nibbling at the scourge. Nobody seems to know exactly what to do to avert or contain it.All kinds of suggestions are merely flying around.

The volume of literature that had been generated on the COVID-19 as a plague has neither provided succor nor solution to the menace. The figures of casualties and spread of infection is hardly ever the same in any hour. It keeps changing incrementally and in high proportions.

Then entire world is held down by the scourge. There is no doubting it that it will trigger a global melt down. Already, the signs of tougher years ahead are very much with us now. With the crash of crude oil price in the world market, the shut down of virtually every aspect of society, including airlines, schools, shopping malls, theatres, clubs, restaurants and eateries (serving only take-aways), even churches and other worship places, etc., surely, the pandemic has knocked down the world to a prostrate state. Recovering will be a far-paced project.

The entire gamut of media networks around the world have been verily engaged in the focus and discourse of the pandemic. It has remained all talks and more talks, loading us with fears, panic and apprehensions of how unsparing and crushing the COVID-19 is.

Scientists have not been able to tell us the origin and cause of the coronavirus. All they tell us is that it afflicted a small province (Wuhan) in China. And now the whole world is deeply and widely endangered. It all shows the vulnerability and limitations of man, in spite of all its avowed breakthroughs in science and technology. God is yet the invincible ultimate power.

That is why, in utter helplessness, man has realised that the ultimate help and redemption from this viral thralldom is turning to God and asking for mercy and intervention.

In Nigeria, the infection seems to have kicked off with the high and the mighty, perhaps to show that in the face of intractable danger, we are all one and equal people. It is ironic that the affliction has come , first from the privileged class: those who have the capacity to travel to foreign lands. The index case was a fellow from Italy who landed in Lagos and developed symptoms of the disease in the last days of February. But in just three or so weeks, the entire Nigeria, nay, the world, is under the firm grip of the disease.

With Chief of Staff to President Buhari, Mr Abba Kyari, Gov Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, Mohammed Atiku Abubakar (son of the former Vice President) and several Nigeria's "Big men" yet to be identified as being carriers of the virus, it is clear that it is a disease that respects nothing about social class or clout. Thus far, the only death recorded from the affliction in the country (as at Wednesday when this column was being tidied up), is still a "big man-- Suleiman Achimogu, former Managing Director, Pipeline and Products Marketing Compaby (PPMC).

In fact, the poor carriers of the disease are most likely going to be collateral victims as some of them have neither owned an international passport nor been to any international airport, let alone travel to come in contact with the "oyinbo carriers" of the disease.

All those who have tested negative to the virus are either people with travel history to countries with high figures of infection or those who have come in contact with those who have the disease in Nigeria.

It is spreading even faster because the symptoms delay in manifesting. So those who are infected do not readily know that they are. And so they mingle and socialize, without knowing that they are, thereby spreading the affliction.

This explains why somewhat "rural" states and communities have been yet spared from the ill-flakes of the virus.

It is one plague that has bound humanity as one entity, despite the variations of colour,creed or clout.

Even those who are not likely going to ask God for anything because all is cool with them are fast realizing that the only way out of the coronavirus fix is through God's intervention, what with the fact that man has come to the very end of its powers and prowess. That is why the general supplication is for God to have mercy and heal the land of all its afflictions and horror.

Those who even thought the news about the COVID-19 plague is all a ruse, are fast realising that it is not only real, but a veritable agent of doom and death.

Many have pointed out that with the total lock down of some states including Lagos, Rivers and Anambra, the people are really going to suffer. It is worse for those who depend on daily hustle to eke out a living. It is even worse that government is not thinking of providing palliatives. Does government have the resources or even the good thought of providing it?

In Canada and America, where self-isolation has been ordered, government is making provision to the citizens to cushion the effect of not going to work. But not here.

Many have even mocked the political parties for leaving Nigerians in the lurch, and compared it with political campaign seasons when politicians distribute unsolicited bags of rice, salt and such other household victuals. But right now when hunger is bound to be a harsher virus, no political party or government is talking about meeting the basic needs of the people.

Not spared from the mockery are politicians who have the common penchant of travelling abroad for even the flimsiest excuse. Now everybody is forced indoors and compelled to look inward for domestic solutions to our problems and challenges.

Lagos went on a total lockdown yesterday.

Although Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has braced up with the challenges of managing the menace in Lagos, Africa's most populous city, yet

the economic consequences on the populace will be crushing.

But harsh as it may be, it is better to be economically pumelled than to be dead. Only the living can measure a thriving economy.

Many, including this writer, believe that we shall all meet on the other side of this affliction and heave a long sigh of relief, thanking God for releasing His mercy upon us and freeing us from the paralysis brought by the virus. Our stories shall end well, as a people.

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