In a previous rticle, I explained how the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic and its attendant problems on the social and economic lives of Nigerians is a sort of karma in Nigeria.
Now, I am afraid it could be more serious than that.
I sense that except there is an alteration of the current sequence of events, an apocalypse is brewing in Nigeria.
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Beyond the detected covid-19 cases in people who traveled into the country from abroad, it is now an established fact that there is rampant local transmission of the virus in Nigeria. Also, due to the current lock-down, a lot of Nigerians are seriously suffering, crime is increasing and a lot of law-abiding citizens are resorting to self-help to protect themselves.
It is from these two inferences that I postulate that Nigeria could be heading for serious calamity.
On the 10th of April, 2020, 3 new covid19 cases were reported in Daura, Katsina state. The 3 new cases are the wife and two children of the first reported case in Katsina. Daura like most areas in Nigeria has a population that is predominantly uneducated, ill-informed and poverty-stricken.
In areas like this, transmission can occur very quickly and in secrecy.
Within a location such as Daura, health coverage is very limited and a comprehensive covid19 test that effectively covers the whole population is virtually impossible considering the horrible Nigerian healthcare system. You can bet Daura has much more covid19 cases than the official confirmations.
Let’s call this phenomenon the Daura factor.
For clarity, let us define the Daura factor as ‘’covid19 spreading fast in an unpredictable manner and shrouded in secrecy due to poor healthcare system and poor human, technological and infrastructural development’’.
Recently, 3 covid19 cases detected in Lagos state were transferred to Ogun state. This was due to the reason that they are resident in Sango Otta, a big town in Ogun state that borders Lagos. The implication is that the coronavirus is now in Sango Otta and transmission is inevitably ongoing.
Sango otta might be more developed than Daura but it is reasonable to say that the Daura factor is currently playing out in Ogun state.
The first confirmed covid19 death in Delta state is an instructive story.
The concerned individual had underlying health issues and had visited Lagos two weeks before. He got sick and was admitted to a private hospital situated within a residential building. The assumption at this time was that it was a non-covid19 sickness. Later, the sickness got out of hand and he was transferred to a public hospital. Shortly after his specimen was taken, he passed away. His test result however came back positive with the coronavirus.
Imagine the number of people that would have unknowingly contacted the virus through this man, both directly and indirectly. The Daura factor is currently playing out in Delta state.
A patient arrived at Lagos University Teaching Hospital’s emergency unit on the 2nd of April, 2020 complaining of malaise, tremors and fever. On admission, the patient did not disclose the fact that he returned from Holland two weeks before where he went for follow-up treatment after a renal transplant. The patient died the following day. A test conducted on the deceased body revealed he had coronavirus.
You can bet many local transmissions has occurred through this man. The Daura factor is playing out in Lagos state.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), as at 12th of April, 2020, there are 323 confirmed covid19 cases in Nigeria. It would be reasonable to say the unconfirmed cases in Nigeria are in thousands, if not tens of thousands right now.
In line with global response aimed at curtailing the coronavirus pandemic, the Nigerian government has ordered residents of Abuja, Lagos and Ogun state to stay at home for 14 days lasting till 13th of April, 2020. Many state governments have equally taken the cue.
While this approach is commendable, its copy and paste nature can simply not work in Nigeria like it would in saner climes with structured systems and responsible/competent government.
Many residents in Lagos and Ogun state are no longer sleeping at night due to a sharp increase in crimes perpetrated by hoodlums and hungry youths.
More than half of the Nigerian population live under extreme poverty and a huge segment of the working population live from hand to mouth on a daily basis. It is impossible to ask this huge disadvantaged population to stay home for 14 days without expecting big trouble.
I saw a video on Twitter showing the Awori area of Agege where a crowd of men with cutlass and other weapons came out in the night to act as vigilantes in order to protect their community.
A twitter handle @_opyzle with the name Omoluabi reported on the 12th of April, 2020 that there is a serious robbery going on at Abule-Ijoko in Ogun state.
Kate Henshaw, a Nigerian celebrity, reported on Twitter that a lady went to buy stuff at Lekki phase 1 and that boys/guys were lined up on the road saying they were hungry and begging for food.
That is the brink on which those boys/guys can turn to crime very soon.
A twitter handle @iamMotola with the name Tola posted some pictures of himself and others keeping guard at night with the caption – ‘’Haven’t slept in like 5 days straight…rather die protecting my family than to be killed in my sleep’’.
What Tola doesn’t know is that he is equally acquiring a new skill in violence and depending on future circumstances of his life, that skill could later haunt the society.
The fact of the Nigerian lock-down is that too many people are suffering intensely and a lot of people are afraid for their lives, the lives of their loved ones and the likely loss of their little acquisitions due to the increasing wave of armed robbery and other crimes.
The 14 days lock-down ended on 13th of April and the Federal government has extended it by another 14 days lock-down. This has serious security implications and citizens might revolt against the government when the suffering becomes too unbearable.
The bitter truth is that another 14 days lock-down will not stop the spread of the coronavirus, it can only slow its spread. What will the government do when the 14 days extension expires?
And so the Nigerian government is very close to finding itself between the devil and the deep sea – relax the current lock-down and have the coronavirus spread at a faster rate than it is currently spreading or continue with the lock-down and risk citizens revolting against the government.
Such is the perfect recipe for a national cataclysm.
I do not pity the Nigerian government at this troubling time. They have sown into the wind for decades and are bound to reap the whirlwind currently brewing.
Hopefully, a vaccine or cure comes soon enough as it appears this virus is unstoppable any other way.
God help us all.
PS: I was intentional about using the term the Daura factor because Daura is the hometown of President Muhammadu Buhari, and like the Nigerian system, his leadership in this crisis has been very poor.