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Opinions of Friday, 28 February 2020

Columnist: MyNigeria

On today's episode of coronavirus, Day 1

Nigerians are a very exotic set of people. If Nigerians were a fruit- Kiwi would be my pick: exotic and a unique form of people. Highly sensitive. Highly irritated. Very intelligent. Impatient even.

So when I saw the story by 3 am that Coronavirus was confirmed in Nigeria, I knew a lot of people would take advantage of the trend. I also knew that people like us that talk and write too much will churn out all sort of stories around it. If we don't write and investigate- would you even know in the first place?

It's actually counter-productive if you try to block social media folks because of panic which would naturally exist because you feel threatened. The same goes for the video content producers or influencers who like to make fun of everything. These are common Nigerian nuances. The average Nigerian is not that serious like that. Even the highly performing students- every Nigerian has a fun side.

Personally, because this is an opinion, I still blame the Government for this one tiny lapse. I understand that corruption, greed, avarice and being selfish is a shared Nigerian trait- top or bottom; but like the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan said yesterday, it could have been handled better.

Ever since Coronavirus took centre stage, several countries have been issuing visa bans and travel advisories. Heck! Airlines refused to go to China- British Airways, for example. Nigeria didn't see that until an Italian man got in and tested positive to the virus.

For a country that managed to survive Ebola at the detriment of Stella Adadevoh, the 57-year-old that played the country's martyr just to save this beautiful country, not enough has been done. Nigeria managed through Ebola because of Stella's sacrifice, yet Lassa Fever has been a recurrent epidemic the country grappled to cure over the years! China built a hospital in 6 days to fight coronavirus yet the Lagos-Ibadan road has been uncompleted for close to 16 years, maybe even more.



For a lackadaisical and non-forward thinking Government, Lawan was right. Possibly he foreshadowed its emergence in Nigeria. Several questions however abound. Was he the only one on the plane? How many people were on the plane? Where are those people now? Which flight? What time did the plane arrive Lagos? Why didn't the airport scanners detect it? What went wrong exactly?

All the cases of Nigeria's pandemics have been caused by foreign nationals. Ebola was brought to Nigeria by Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian national and now, Coronavirus by an Italian national. While a conspiracy theory of a pandemic to destroy the world is being pushed around, the reality of the fact is that if the Federal Government were careful, we would not be in this mess right now.

I am done blaming the Government, they have demonstrated gross negligence and cluelessness all the time. This is no longer amazing. However, it is still not too late to shut down the country from any external movement. Till date, Nigeria has not woken up to that knowledge.

It is obvious our hope is stuck on God. In all honesty, who else would we turn to? The three drugs discovered to cure coronavirus have not been fully confirmed as a proper cure by the World Health Organization. Besides the virus is rapidly spreading. Nigeria has no facilities to fight any epidemic or pandemic of any kind. Lassa Fever is still without a cure with two cases confirmed and a few others identified.

So if we are hoping on a cure, since we don't have any facilities to test and innovate, faith is only natural in this case.

I love the can-do and brave Nigerian spirit. A few people cradled sanitizers today and only one face mask was what I saw. So it seems we are taking this quite lightly.

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