COVID 19 And The Lock Down In Nigeria

By Yusufu Shehu UsmanWe may close all schools and offices because of Covid19 and Nigerians won’t kick much
It’s when the closure extends to the markets and prayer houses like the mosques and the churches that is when we should expect angry reactions from the common folks
If markets are closed, the livelihood of millions of Nigerians will either be cut off or terribly and adversely affected
Millions of Nigerians live their lives by the day and depend on the markets for the sustenance of their livelihood
If the markets are closed for fear of Covid19 which they may not even be infected by, they may die not of the virus but of hunger, which is a worst calamity
Or is the Government going to ensure that because of the fear of the devastating effect of the Coronavirus, it will feed the poor three times a day and take care of their other essential needs?
For those employed and working for salaries, there would not be much problem as their salaries would be paid even if their offices are shut down on the apprehension of Covid19 . They will still manage to feed self and family
What of the millions of unemployed Nigerians who live from hand to mouth and whose livelihood is predicated on their daily struggle or as we call it here, “hustling”?
Can they survive when the markets are locked down?
To them and indeed to all, life is a matter of survival and risk is an integral part of it
They will rather take the risk of going to the market and eke out a survival than to die of hunger.
After all, they may not pick the infection we fear for them in the market ( which is only a possibility) but if they don’t hustle for what to eat, their lives will be in imminent peril and danger, which is a truth and a certainty
To them, the risk of going to the market, is a risk worth it’s while
To shut down mosques and churches for fear of Covid19, will also raise issues and generate sentiments and controversy among Nigerians
We know how sentimental we are about religion. Those who will oppose the closure of mosques and churches will argue that we need to congregate to pray against the scourge of the Coronavirus.
How would we have the numbers and effect of congregation if we can’t gather in congregation to render the prayers and supplications?
They will argue with faith that God will not allow the virus to attack those who have come together to worship Him
He is God of mercy and compassion and He will always protect those who trust in Him and gather to praise Him in worship
And, you can hardly fault them in this belief unless you doubt the power and control of God over everything including the coronavirus
In the developed economies of the world, they can lock down their offices and still work effectively from home They can also shutdown their markets and supermarkets and still get their needs delivered to their homes. They have the technology to achieve these and even more
Can we say the same with Nigeria?
Therefore when we copy the measures put in place by the developed economy to combat the spread of the coronavirus, we should not to do so blindly
We must take into account the way such measures will affect our people and the state of their well being
Our situation is different and peculiar and so should be our style of response to the threat of Covid19
We must do everything humanly possible to prevent and contain the virus and also halt it’s spread, but we should not kill ourselves even when we are not too sure that the virus would kill us