Nigeria with an estimated population of 200 Million is the most populous country in Africa. This has conferred some advantages on the nation for instance, because of its size and population, it has been given the name ‘‘Giant of Africa’’.
However, the country’s military conflict with Boko Haram insurgents and the Corona virus Epidemic that is currently ravaging the whole world are likely to expose the country as a ‘‘big for nothing’’ country.
In the case of Boko Haram, the country started its military exploits against these insurgents towards the tail end of president Goodluck Jonathan Ebele’s administration. Up till now, the insurgents are yet to be defeated. In April, 2020, consequent upon the killing of 92 men and officers of the Chadian army, their President, Idris Derby a military man himself, launched a counter offensive against the insurgents. According to reports over 1,000 insurgents were killed and a number of arms and ammunitions were seized. The insurgents were completely devastated, with their leader Abubakar Shekau almost begging Idris Derby to stop the war against his men and appealed to his soldiers not to be discouraged as a result of what had happened. It is crystal clear that if the Chadian soldiers were given 2 weeks to deal with the insurgents, the war will come to end with the total defeat of the insurgents. This is a war that Nigeria has been fighting for more than 5 years now, without the end of the war in sight.
In the case of Corona virus epidemic, this writer is grateful that both the President of the Nation and all the State Governors took early action to contain the virus. There was a lockdown of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Lagos State and Ogun State where the Virus was and is still most prevalent and has attacked the highest number of Nigerians mainly, returnee from other countries already affected by the Virus. What would have prevented the spread of the Virus was a lockdown in the three states already mentioned. This was immediately embarked upon by the government. However, as most Nigerians eat from hand to mouth, a total lockdown could not be complied with as this category of Nigerians are still going out to find their daily bread on a daily basis. Assuming the government could provide for its citizens as being done in some countries like the United States [USA] those that would be affected by the Virus might likely not be more that twenty out of which some would have been treated and eventually cleared, as we are presently witnessing in Lagos State. This however was not the case because the country, could not feed its citizens. It was the total lockdown embarked upon in Wuhan, China where the virus originated that eventually cleared the city of Corona Virus on March 27, 2020.
What would have cleared the Virus from the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States where the President declared a lockdown on 31st March, 2020 would have been for the lockdown to be total. However, this did not happen. The lockdown was not total as the citizens kept shouting to the government that they were and are still feeling hungry and should be given food. No food or any other palliative measure is forthcoming hence, people had to force themselves to start going about their daily businesses and activities as usual and the number of people affected by the Virus kept increasing on a daily basis since then. The lockdown which was initially for a period of 14 days, had to be extended for another period of 14days. If a total lockdown had been achieved with the government providing food for the hungry ones, the country would have been cleared of the Virus within the first lockdown period of 14 days.
This was however not the case. The masses kept shouting for help but the government kept on dilly-dallying. One of our Honourable Ministers came out to say it is only those people with less than N5,000 in their Bank Account that would be given some palliative measures; as if it is only this category of Nigerians that are observing the ‘‘Stay at home’’ order and prevented from sourcing for their means of livelihood. A paper was circulated round some CDAs in Lagos for the executives of the CDA to supply the names of the indigent ones in the CDA. This list was compiled and submitted but nothing has been heard concerning the list.
It is either that the government lacked the political will to provide palliatives for the citizens observing the ‘‘Stay at home’’ order or that the government is scared by the country’s population. Either way, this attitude makes the Nation look like a country without any plan for its citizens I only hope at the end of this pandemic the name ‘‘Nigeria’’ would not have been removed from the world map. This is because many of its citizens would have gone down with the virus [God forbid] .
The opportunity is still there for us to contain this Virus now. History will not forgive this administration if in February 2020, Nigeria was completely free from this Virus and in early March, 2020, only few returnees had the Virus and yet by the time a vaccine is eventually available in July or August 2020,to cure the disease caused by this virus, thousands of Nigerians had died of Corona Virus.
This is the time for us to stop the spread of this Virus so that the country can March forward economically. If those we want to give palliative measures are those with N 5,000 or less in their account let the disbursement start now, in such a way that all Nigerians will know and have the feeling that government is doing ‘‘ something’’ so that the “stay at home’’ order by the government can be complied with by all Nigerians.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.