Author: John Okhan
The first recorded case of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria was confirmed by the Federal Ministry of Health on the 27th of February, 2020, since its first outbreak at the Wuhan City in China late December 2019.
Lanre News recalled that an Italian citizen who returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos on 25th of February 2020 was reported to be the index case in Nigeria after being confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital to be positive on February 27th.
Although the index case was clinically stable while admitted at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos and has since been discharged; the virus has spread across more than 20 states in Nigeria and the FCT, with the number of confirmed cases is above 600 and more than 10 fatalities.
Nigeria’s megacity, Lagos, is the epicentre of the virus with more than 300 cases confirmed.
In a bid to contain the virus, the Federal Government ordered a total lockdown in three states – Lagos, Abuja, and Ogun.
With some hours away from the completion of the first 14 days lockdown directives, the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari in his national address ordered the extension of the directive with an additional 14 days.
– ‘Ignorance is Nigerians problem’ –
As the country struggles to contain the growing pandemic, Lanre News correspondent questioned people at Festac Town, Lagos to gather their opinions on the COVID-19 pandemic and how they were coping with the stay-at-home directive by the Federal Government.
“Nigeria is a mixed multitude of sorts, from the rich, to the poor, to highly educated intellectuals down to the outright ignorant,” Gbolahan, a civil servant with the Lagos State Government told Lanre News.
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“Our biggest enemy in this country still is ignorance, what will kill most of us is our inability to obey simple instructions. The stay-at-home order given by the government still fall on deaf ears by millions of Nigerians who still believe that COVID-19 is a made-up event for the selfish interest of a few.”
– Global Pandemic? –
When Lanre News interviewed more locals in Festac, Gbolahan’s comment on Nigerians doubt of the legitimacy of the virus was corroborated by two residents. Friday and Omoh, a student of Yaba College of Technology and a staff of Zenith Bank respectively both seem to share serious skepticisms about the existence of the virus in Nigeria.
“I honestly don’t buy the idea of this coronavirus thing. I think we are not being told the whole truth about the virus. There are contradictions here and there,” Friday began.
“If the virus is as contagious as they say, that means we should all just be dead, because first, how come the virus is airborne, and yet cannot get into the eyes and nose directly, but instead has to be contracted through touch?
“It does not make sense to me. And yet much emphasis is placed on hand wash and sanitizers. Doesn’t that tell you something?
“As far as I’m concerned, even staying at home will not guarantee your safety.”
Omoh who still goes to work since banks fall under the category of businesses still allowed to operate, following the stay-at-home order also feels somewhat the same about the issue.
“This thing will ruin many things in the country, and personally I don’t think it’s as serious as we are making it to be.
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“I am yet to see anybody with the virus and now we have to shut down the economy all for what? Even in my workplace, it has disrupted a lot of activities.
“We now have to work in shifts and official closing hours have been brought closer to 1:30pm. Up till now, we don’t have full details concerning the full status of the virus in Nigeria, all because someone somewhere said someone brought the virus into the country.” Omoh said.
He concluded by saying “I think this coronavirus might just be chemical warfare between China and the Western world and has nothing to do with us here in Africa.”
– God’s Factory Reset? –
While local businesspersons and traders appear to be most hit by the stay-at-home order, we interviewed a local foodstuff seller at the popular Agboju market in Festac town, Mama Blessing, who was at home as at the time.
Mama Blessing said she was adhering to the rules and safety precautions.
“Me I don’t understand much about the coronavirus, I’m just doing as they said we should do,” she said.
Mama Blessing’s whose response continued further down on a more spiritual tone thought God allowed the virus to happen for a reason.
“I’m a Christian, and I believe that nothing happens on earth without God’s permission. This corona virus is God’s way of directing our path and cleansing the land.
“There is too much evil in the country, and if you observe closely, you will notice how it has first started attacking our evil leaders who have kept us in our present condition.
“It is a judgment for the wicked and people who have refused to repent from their wicked ways.”
Mama Blessing’s neighbor, Agnes Akujiobi who sells women’s wears at the same market at Festac also shared the same sentiments and equally thought of it as a sign from God and a judgment on the wicked.
As a consequence of Mama Blessing’s comment, Lanre News was curious as to the spiritual dimension the issue of the virus was taking and sought to find out if there were any such spiritual implications or biblical interpretation on the subject.
Pastor Clement Onuoha who serves as the lead pastor of a Pentecostal Church in Festac Town said Mama Blessing wasn’t entirely wrong in her assessment.
“You see, if you look at the bible, you will see that what is happening now isn’t new to mankind. Some elders here in my church believe it’s the sign of the end-time, which I rightly address.
“It is true that what is happening might feel like an aberration and are signs of the end-time as stated in the book of Revelations, you have to understand that every point in history has always been at points were it felt like it could not get any worse.
“The term end-time is relative and is not peculiar to any one point in history. It is just a reminder to change our ways and get right with our maker. Corona virus is real and is of the devil. It is not God’s judgment.
“However, it should be a moment of sober reflection for a lot of us who have strayed far away from His truths.
“You can either see as the end of the world, or the verge of a new beginning.
“We are living in really terrible times. People have sold their souls to the devil. Our politicians have sucked the country dry, our young men have now become fraudsters, and young girls selling their bodies for money. It is a terrible situation, but like I said it is nothing new.
“This one has come and it will pass just like many others before its time.”
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