—————————————-“If after 4 weeks we haven’t put the necessary things in place to treat victims of the pandemic, Our Government office holders should be deemed as criminals”.
“If the lockdown is extended, we would have succeeded in turning a huge number of our population into crime”.
It is hard to read the lips of President Muhammadu Buhari because he is either a man of few words or publicly shy.
All the same well meaning citizens owe the Country the obligation of speaking out to enable Mr President listen to those who are not obligated to tell him what he likes to hear.
On this premise, I proceed; The initial lockdown is no doubt welcomed and a desideratum. It serves two essential purposes.
The first is to create awareness among the populace that Covid-19 is real and that we need do to stay safe and in the event of being infested, what we must to do immediately.
The 2nd critical necessity of the lockdown is to substantially reduce those that would be infested with the scourge, because no Government in the world is ready for treatment of the huge number that could be infested hence; Government needs time to put medical doctors, nurses and ancillary staff in place, coupled with ventilators, testing kits, medications and all that.
We have experienced four weeks of total lockdown in Lagos, FCT, Abuja. Other States have undergone fewer weeks. If after 4 weeks we haven’t put the necessary things in place to treat victims of the pandemic, Our Government office holders should be deemed as “criminals”.
Albeit; The best cure remains prevention. We may lock the Country down ad infinitum and not achieve anything unless we raise the level of awareness among the populace. For now that is not the case. The peasants ironically nurse the impression Covid-19 affects only the wealthy. This is most unfortunate.
What makes matters worse confounded is that those countries that initiated the lockdown have structures in place and have data to determine their population, who lives and works where. The indigent citizens in these countries are so negligible in number and they know how to get relief materials to them.
They have a workforce of over 80% and they take care of them by paying 80% of their salary, while mauls, groceries, foodstuff outlets are open for them to pick whatever they need. Those who can’t go out order online.
In Nigeria, the opposite is the case. We have over 90% of the populace that earn their living daily and their working capital can hardly survive them for one or two days. It is no rocketscience to understand that man must put something in the mouth to survive daily.
It is so compulsory that if he can’t get it legitimately, he seeks for it by illegitimate means. What has happened during the lockdown is an obvious failure of the distribution of food and relief materials to those 90% of our indigent populace. This has come with the nagative effect of the number of people who are robbing across the land to feed to go up exponentially.
History has continued to repeat itself because man never learns from history. Before the civil war in the late 60s, hardly did we know of armed robbery. We had just thieves who lived on pickpocketing and petting stealing. The war opened the eyes of the lazy and jobless to armed robbery particularly, those soldiers that were laid off both at the Biafra and Nigeria ends. Ever since we haven’t been able to stem the incident of armed robbery. It has since graduated to kidnapping and “yahoo yahoo”
Any Government who thinks ahead should be concerned about the backlash of keeping the 90% of her populace idle for too long, more so, in a Country where there is nothing for anybody and it is the survival of the fittest. Before the pandemic we were on the verge of anarchy and you can hardly move about without having extra in the pocket to give to the area boys.
My drift in essence is; If the lockdown is extended, we would have succeeded in turning a huge number of our population into crime. The whole of our law enforcement agencies wouldn’t be able to handle the untoward consequences.
In effect, further lockdown is not the answer. The solution is enforcement of mask wearing, social distancing, constant washing of hands and having a sanitizer handy either in our pockets or in the vehicles, for use where water is not readily available to wash hands.
Once we put all these in place, the lockdown should be relaxed and gradual return to normal life should be structured.
Verbum Sat Sapienti Est.
*Aare Kola Oyefeso*