On Monday, April 14th, President Buhari extended the lockdown order by another two weeks in a measure to contain the spread of the ravaging effect of the COVID-19. In his widely broadcast speech, the president assured Nigerians of acting to prevent the spread of the flu viral. In the same vein, he also announced the signing of the Quarantine Act which gives constitutional backing to the lockdown which has been a subject of discussion in the legal circle.
The corona virus which has been a puzzle to the global community has also defied containment due to its stealth spread mechanism. From Italy to Spain, the United States, United Kingdom, the story of its virulence has been alarming. Many countries took a de facto conservative approach to it and it paid off quite right although that may be still too early to say. But careless comments on its reality has seen dire consequences. With death resulting from the virus nearing 40,000 in the United States, President Trump’s initial dismissal of it as a “democratic hoax” has come to hurt his rating among the American citizens. His repeated flippancy on global issues such as climate change and the novel COVID-19 may be what led to him being described by Sen. Bernie Sanders as “an unbeliever of science”.
Quite frankly, Nigeria has been quite laidback in handling the spread of the corona virus from the reported private treatment of infected citizens by unscrupulous doctors in private facilities, to the insistence of religious leaders to hold gatherings without the stipulated distancing standards, there seems to be no lessons from the harshly hit countries. Looking back, nonchalant Italy paid dearly for neglecting the advised containment procedures. It seems the United states is the virus’ next stop.
From Ecuador, a South American country that lies slightly below the equator comes troubling statistics. Like known, the official death toll has been underreported to mask the underlying situation or to dispel panic but the carelessness from the country is also telling. The government’s (in)action according to the citizen has led to many Ecuadorians losing trust in the government. They accuse the government of being more interested in recovering bodies from homes than in setting up standard procedures in handling the emergency.
Nigeria shares a lot of commonalities with Ecuador. More than half of the citizens live below the poverty line, poor investment in public utilities and infrastructure, an unfair political and elite group and crass corruption among the elite. Hence, the battle against COVID-19 has to be concerted and focused so as to protect the general public.
Abba Kyari, a fulfilled man!
Mallam Abba Kyari’s death pained me quite much. Politics aside, I liked him from a distance. He was an intellectual par excellence. One of the most intelligent, and widely read Nigerians from the north, whose experience in the private sector was intimidating. Due to his quietness, he was the most misunderstood public servant that ever lived in Nigeria.
Abba Kyari reach as a lawyer, and one who made his mark in the management of most rated companies in Nigeria leaves his position as the President’s Chief of Staff. On the day when he was announced to have contracted the corona virus, after the trip to Germany, three of his aides were also said to have tested negatives. Mallam Kyari’s situation did not improve although he was said to have expressed mild symptoms.
Many Nigerians referred to him as the de facto president. As ridiculous as it sounded, this columnist counts it as a measure of trust the president had in him. Abba Kyari was media shy and rarely the courted bride of the media, little wonder the excoriating comments from people who would barely recognize him if they saw him without his leopard skin – the red cap. There were rumours he was diabetic and asthmatic which obviously would have worsened his response to treatment.
Abba Kyari’s name might not appeal to a lot of persons, no thanks to the call a dog a bad name to hang it. His name in the private sector rings a bell and one of the things that will be greatly missed in the presidency is his handling of issues and technical experience. May his soul rest in peace and may God comfort his family.
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