Jacob Simon

"...No Nigerian should suffer any extra pain in this moment of our national lives..." Buhari said.

The dreaded blood-sucking monster COVID-19 has already reached the one million number of infected persons mark globally and about 232 cases reported cases already in the most populous black nation on the planet.

A lot of dynamics and narratives have surrounded this life-threatening pandemic ranging from the Chinese-conspiracy theory to the End-times prophetic fulfilment held strongly by the Christian faithful amid the 5G saga. The various states government in Nigeria has taken initiatives of formulating measures to checkmate the rapid spread of the virus through the closure of land, air and sea borders, regulated number of gatherings, suspension of religious activities and other social events and ultimately a complete lockdown directive (Sit at home order).

As laudable as these measures are, the ordinary man on the streets has a different perception, the ordinary businessman has an entirely different viewpoint and have ultimately approached the government's directive differently. Most people still exhibit magnified ignorance over the virus non-existence especially not in their Nigeria where it is believed that politicians are inflating the numbers to inflict panic and also to attract donors and funds from appropriate quarters. Some opportunistic traders and businessmen have seen great potential for mouthwatering income by their over 1000 per cent increment in the prices of commodities. More particularly in Abia state, the common commodity gotten from cassava called Garri which was originally sold for just #400 naira has now miraculously skyrocketed to #1,500 naira in some humane places and #2,000 naira most places. This is despite the fact that this commodity is gotten from their very backyard, so what went wrong?

The transportation sector has not even helped the situation despite the total lockdown order, most motorists after observing and complying with the directive on the very first day of April when it started in full force in Abia state, now go about their normal routine during the evening hours of the day. It is also a fact that most of them have refused to adhere to a number of allowed passengers especially the KEKE drivers who violate this rule with reckless abandon and no thanks to the abetting correspondence of the so-called enforcement agencies stationed therein. There have been reports with video footage as evidence where most Nigerians have been assaulted and roughly handled by enforcement agents on account of this lockdown. Life in this lockdown has been truly hellish.

The Nigerian electricity authorities have proven in this critical time of our national life when it is essentially required of them to make the whole experience less traumatizing and boring that our generator sets are truly indispensable and that those sponsoring and advancing bills for its ban are either leaving in LALA Land or have truly lost track of their realities.

The cultural shortage in power supply is amongst the chief reasons why the social distancing adherence is becoming a fallacy, social interactions and companionship seems to be the best alternative especially for citizens who can not afford a generator set or cannot risk buying petrol especially when some marketers have refused to sell it at the federal government approved pump price. All way away as it is said in the pidgin parlance, most churches without an online platform resorted to house fellowships in order to encourage themselves in this very perilous time. There have been major debates on and off social media over the necessary palliative measures set in by the government to cushion the effects of the sit at home order consequently upon the fact that most people get their daily bread during the day by day hustles, the federal government has claims to have given certain amount funds to vulnerable Nigerians worth millions of naira but ironically, most Nigerians are still bemoaning the non-existence of any cushioning measures.

Nigerians are gradually going back to the streets, traders are returning back to their market steads, transporters are hitting back on the roads as people are getting very tired of the whole order. Some social drinking spots are gradually booming back to life, it appears people are losing confidence in the ability of the government to restore normalcy, prevalent situations are pushing the masses to relax the precautionary measures, hunger is another virus making people run away from isolation centres, the lacklustre attitude of some medical workers have also exacerbated the whole situation.

The pandemic is now a serial human killer but the present precarious situations in Nigeria is really aiding deeply the pains felt by most masses. This should not be a Lockdown in hell, measures to improve the lot of citizens must be advanced, security operatives must improve in their public relations and the citizens must have the consciousness that this directive is for their continuous livelihood.

The world is in a terrible state and all hand must be on deck to safe humanity, this is not a time to be racial biased, it is not time for foodstuffs distributed to a particular local government or village to be pocketed or pilfered by some selected favoured few at the expense of an impoverished many. This is not the time to drive home dividing ideologies that will put brothers at loggerheads, it absolutely not the time careless with one's personal hygiene because of an 'I don't believe syndrome' because, at this material time, an injury to one is an injury to all.

Coronavirus will definitely be defeated but before that inevitable eventuality, let's not make this small earth of ours a LIVING HELL.

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