There’s a global pandemic sweeping across all states in Nigeria, but many Nigerians are not obeying the stay-at-home order. It is barely two weeks after the Federal Government of Nigeria gave the order for a total lockdown in Lagos State, Ogun State, and FCT Abuja and state governors directed their citizens to stay at home, but people are getting restless and are already tired of staying at home.
While those who live off daily income can be found on the streets claiming that they would rather face Coronavirus than starve to death, others are jogging or carrying out fitness activities on the streets. Some estates are organizing parties, people are playing football on the streets and friends are going to visit one another.
As far as many Nigerians are concerned, this lockdown is the ‘holiday’ they have been praying for. To many, this is the much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of places like Lagos.
There is a global pandemic, and Nigeria is not exempt. There are reports of cases in Nigeria, with recorded deaths. Covid-19 is here with us, so, it makes us wonder: why is it difficult for Nigerians to follow simple instructions? Practice social/physical distancing to flatten the curve of the spread. It is quite simple.
Nigerians on social media went haywire when actress Funke Akindele-Bello and her husband, Abdulrasheed ‘JJCSkillz’ Bello posted videos from a party they hosted on Saturday, 4th of April. The party was to celebrate his birthday in the midst of a lockdown. As an ambassador, it would be reasonable to expect the actress to practice what she advocated for in the advert for Dettol. Many people found it quite appalling when she organised a party with over 20 people in attendance.
However, the Bellos and their friends are not the only ones who have flouted the lockdown directive from the Federal Government.
On Monday, the 6th of April, certain Nigerians in Lagos came out en-masse to work out, on the road. While it is good to stretch your body, the problem with this is that they were not, in anyway, practicing social distancing. This means they were more likely to be infected with the virus and then pass it on to other Nigerians.
Gbagada this morning. We deserve our leaders. ??♂️ pic.twitter.com/5ynSRM4Joi
— GatsBee: Blvck Apron (@SamuelOtigba) April 6, 2020
Having seen how the ‘Gbagada joggers’ came out in troops to stretch their bones, those in Ikorodu also decided that they would not be left out. In fact, they ‘wanted to prove’ that they could do it better.
The gym moved to Ikorodu this morning, from Haruna down to Agric busstop… Is this really a lockdown? pic.twitter.com/UMBG2hGBrf
— Series Abíọ́dún ♠ (@Engr_Series) April 7, 2020
A total lockdown means citizens must not leave their homes, so why are our roads blocked with cars? Where are people going? Why are people leaving their homes?
Sorry oo. How the hell is there traffic on lekki expressway when there is supposed to be a lock down ?? How na ? pic.twitter.com/NeLdJ6jnvL
— @dawuzi (@dawuzi) April 6, 2020
It did not end there, on Monday, there was traffic jam along the Lekki-Epe expressway.
It is painful (for a lack of better word) that it is the upper and middle class – who can afford to stock up and stay in their homes, who people believe should know better – that are disobeying the lockdown order. It is pathetic!
One can, at least, understand when poor people – who cannot afford to stock up, who have to feed from daily sales, who might starve if they are forced to stay indoors – troop out to the streets in search of their daily food. At least, one will be able to empathize with them, while encouraging them to go back inside.
One might even understand when illiterates disregard the order; maybe they don’t know better and this is an opportunity to educate them on why staying at home is the best way to stop the spread. But when educated folks – who know the true effect of the spread of COVID-19 – openly disregard it like this? It becomes a deliberate act.
So, pray tell, what excuse do these people who leave their homes to jog on the road – with a lot of other people clustered together at a particular place – have? Will they say they are not aware of Coronavirus? Or are not aware of the directive from the Federal government? Or they don’t know what a lockdown means?
So dear Nigerians, what is a lockdown?
Unfortunately for Nigeria, even Steve who is an accountant is currently on the street hugging people and laughing his teeth away.
Adams is an engineer, but he is currently planning a get-together with his friends on Saturday. In fact, they have bought Semo.
Contrary to what many Nigerians think, a lockdown is not a holiday.
Stop treating it as one. Stop using this opportunity to greet all your neighbours and visit all your friends. Stay at home!
A lockdown is an emergency protocol that prevents people from leaving a given area. A full lockdown means you must stay where you are and not exit or enter a building or the given area. To have an effective lockdown, you have to stay in your home. This is to enable the government swiftly trace those who might be infected with COVID-19, fumigate affected areas and put a stop to the spread of Coronavirus.
The more you move about and huddle in clusters, the higher the risk of you coming in contact with an infected person and spreading it to other uninfected people, and the more difficult it is for the government to do their jobs effectively.
How serious is COVID-19?
Are you still one of those that is yinmu-ing and saying “nothing go happen”? Or you are thinking ‘agbo jedi‘ (herbs for pile) will work? Take a look at today’s Coronavirus statistics.
See more here.
209 countries around the world have been infected so far. The United States of America has over 440,000 cases of Coronavirus and Nigeria currently has 276 cases.
If you don’t stay at home, there is a high possibility of this number doubling-up until we have thousands of infected Nigerians.
Just as we all know, the Nigerian healthcare system is not ‘all that’, having more infected persons will put more pressure on the already wrecking healthcare system. We all know what that means.
So if you’re planning to organise a party because “ah, no work, it’s time to enjoy”, you need to kill that thought right away. In fact, bury it. This is not a holiday!
Who can go out?
“I will go out because Farida is going out.”
No, Farida is a health worker, you are not. Sit at home!
It is only those who offer essential services that are allowed to go out and they must present their ID cards – or any other form of identification – to prove that they offer essential services.
Without essential services like food, water, medical services, financial services, many people might lose their lives. That is why that pharmacy in front of your house is allowed to be open.
But you, you’re selling clothes, bags, shoes, wood, appliances, phones, and so on, if people don’t wear your shoes or buy phone charger, will they die? No. This means you are NOT offering essential services, so stay at home.
If you are not sure if your services are essential or not, ask yourself “if people don’t buy my wares, will they lose their lives”? No? Then stay at home.
Ask yourself again “if I don’t go to church or mosque or that party, will I die?” No? Than stay at home.
Coronavirus is biting hard around the world, don’t make this harder than it already is. Let’s all be responsible citizens.
We need responsible government officials too
On the 6th of April, a medical doctor reportedly died in Katsina State. On the 7th of April – the next day, the governor of Katsina lifted the ban on Friday prayers. This is an extremely irresponsible act from a governor.
Sometimes, one would begin to wonder if the problem with our elected leaders is crack.
In this press release, the governor gives the go-ahead for people to go to the mosque to have a service – a banned religious gathering. In the same breath, he is encouraging other people to practice social distancing.
It must be crack.
The governor of Cross River state is not left out. The man can be heard saying that as long as you have your mask on, social distancing is not a must. That is a governor, elected by the people of Cross River State.
Cross river state how una day! I hope the commissioner for health standing by Governor Ayade corrected him.
This is a state with 33 doctors in State employ. (Minus FG employed)
And hundreds of SAs..
— Wake Up! (@pdbraide) April 8, 2020
When we have elected leaders who behave this way, how do we expect citizens to obey the lockdown instruction?
Anyway, just so you know, when those at the top get infected, they also get the best care and utmost attention. But you…
The best gift you can give yourself – and the world, in general – is to stay at home, wash your hands regularly and practice social distancing.