Saturday 25th April, 2020 was a happy day for Anambrarians, at home. This followed the press release of the governor Chief Willy Obiano, announcing that their state’s COVID 19 confirmed case has been discharged after testing negative; that all the contacts of the survivor have equally come out negative. The hallmark of this was the announced partial relaxation of the state’s lock down, which will (beginning from the stated date) enable only persons within the state to go about their businesses, provided they adhere to extant hygiene and personal safety practices.
Following that announcement, Anambra became the first state to officially enter into the post COVID-19 era in Nigeria.
Here’s the reason for that:
One of the available information provided by experts is that coronavirus can’t travel by air past a distance of 1m.
On this assurance that the deadly virus can’t simply fly like a bird from one locality to another, an essential task was to initiate reliable measures that restrict interstate travel to only essential ones by authorized persons. The state did so through a joint agreement between the state authority, all village heads and vigilante of every community in the state, to secure their village borders and not allow unauthorised entrance.
Breaching an agreement at the cost of one’s crown or collecting bribes to let someone in, at the risk of danger to one’s family, relations and people in addition to punishment is not a gentleman thing to do. So the border was secured. As long as that measure is not compromised, things will remain stable in Anambra State.
This brings to mind that, It’s often been the case that an all-size-fit design does not always fit all. A home made solution that takes cognizance of the peculiarities of a home felt problem and the unique circumstances of the particular people, is always the best way to go. It does better.
With the rising cases of the COVID 19 in Nigeria, it’s not yet late to engage traditional rulers and vigilantes to complement the efforts of the security outfits of the federal government, in securing interstate borders. The hard to understand issue that’s still happening is that people are still moving from one state to another. A friend called today (29th April, 2020) to tell me that someone checked into their compound in Aba last night from the North (Northern part of Nigeria). Why I advised them should ask for self quarantine or alert NCDC, if the person refuses self isolation. I know that the person and other persons who flaunt ‘Stay At Home’ order and travel these days don’t travel as invisible spirits. Some of them move by road. How are they able to do so even when there are police and military men on the road? Maybe the government of Anambra knows why, which made them to engage all their villages to work in ensuring that the task of securing their state borders is not compromised.
If it worked for Anambra, it makes sense that every other state should find ways to adapt related measures to secure their borders. Endless bit-by-bit total lock down is dangerous in any part of Nigeria and Africa as a whole given the unique economic situation In Africa.
An aggressive movement restrictions at national and state borders can help a lot in preventing easy spread to other places. Which of course ensures the pandemic doesn’t reach a level that will overwhelm available health facilities.
Just as Anambra, when every least affected state has put in place effective and reliable border closure measures, in line with the peculiar case of their environment, they can confidently come up with and enforce guidelines that will permit people within their respective states to return to businesses partially.