The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been reported in 35 states of the nation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Going by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) report, Cross River State is the only state in Nigeria without a case of the virus.
The virus has disrupted the economy, with some Nigerians losing their jobs and of course, few getting new employments ― opportunities probably created by the pandemic.
Lagos State, the most populated megacity in Africa is the epicentre of the COVID-19. Following behind is the Centre of Commerce, Kano, the largest city in the Northern part of the nation.
As a media organisation that Reports To Nobody But You, we were wondering how life could have been for serving Corps members in Kano, so we decided to engage some of them.
Obedience and Abiodun
I and Abiodun are members of the SDG CDS group in our Local Government here in Kano with Abiodun as our President.
Prior to the pandemic, we had a handful of projects in the pipeline and were in the process of drafting out modalities to ensure the smooth running of the projects.
Then the pandemic interrupted and everything changed.
Naturally, 90% of the Corps members in our local government travelled to be with their families but we decided to stay back in Kano amidst the boredom and the threatening spate of increasing cases of the virus – our state trailing Lagos with close markings.
With all our projects grounded till further notice, we decided to create another one and tailored it to suit the ugly situation at hand.
Since the populace around us understood and spoke just Hausa, we got an interpreter, permanent markers, and white cardboard papers.
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Armed with these, we wrote a few things about the virus majoring on preventative measures, preaching the need for proper hygiene (washing hands and face often), and encouraging social distancing.
The interpreter translated everything into Hausa and then we took to streets, pasting them on walls and public places especially the market.
The natives encouraged us and gave us thumbs up. Some even beckoned on us to come paste it in their stalls.
It was a rewarding project and we were glad that we contributed in our own little way to sensitize the almost naive public around us on the reality of the Corona Virus pandemic.
These days we just wake up, eat, read, watch movies, pray, shower as much as possible no thanks to the extreme temperatures and wait for normalcy to return.
When the news of the virus ravaged the country like wildfire, from my end here in Kano, I was reluctant to travel even as I watched my colleagues pack their bags.
Then the virus presented its ugly head in Kano and there was total lockdown in the entire state.
I wasn’t really perturbed since the lockdown was just for a week.
But then the cases won’t stop increasing and Ramadan was approaching.
So the unperturbed girl began to worry since the lockdown will affect the availability of foodstuffs and other necessities during the Ramadan.
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Thankfully, the lockdown was relaxed so I and two other female colleagues who stayed back out of the lot that travelled, went out to hunt for supplies, nose mask on – fear in our hearts.
Surprisingly, the natives of the town were not as conscious as we thought.
Social gathering rules were broken beyond recognition, some of them probably haven’t heard or just thought it to be a fallacy.
About a 100 of them thronged around their secretariat to receive their monthly stipends.
So we’ve been busy obeying the lockdown indoors ignorant of the fact things were normal outside. Of course we were shocked.
So we returned back to our lodge and continued with our own lockdown which was now being extended by two weeks by the Federal Government.
This time, I felt the impact. After my friends, the only companion I had was my phone.
Sadly, power supply heard it and decided to bail on us. The power supply system broke down and there I was bored in darkness.
Getting a water to bath became luxury and food went scarce that we had to rely on the natives to help us with supplies since they weren’t part of the lockdown.
It’s not easy playing by the Rules.
Few months ago, I choose not to travel because Kano was Corona free and safe. But before then I wondered how my northern brothers would cope with it.
Would they accept the social distancing in good faith? Would they observe the lockdown fully? Would they wear their nose masks?
Few days later, corona showed up in Kano. Tension became high, the government declared total lockdown and my Lagos friends started laughing at me too, and then I had all the answers to my initial questions.
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I began to wonder. Does it mean these my brothers here do not value death? They’re not scared of the havoc of coronavirus at all.
All preventive measures seem to be taboos to them. Aboki wash your hands, Aboki will wash and drink the water, use sanitizer, he will say sanitizer is alcoholic.
Stay at home, Aboki will rather sit by the road (in cluster).
The first time I stepped out from my house to take a walk, I was well masked but couldn’t believe that I was seen as the carrier of coronavirus as YARA keep chanting coronavirus! Coronavirus!! I felt stigmatised.
I don’t want to talk about the hike in price of water and Keke services until the lockdown is over. Stay safe!!
I was posted to a village and that was not easy for me because I barely understood a thing in Hausa which is a major tool to survive in the North.
Thankfully I had lodge mates who understood and things were a lot easier.
When the lockdown kicked-off in Kano, some of our lodge mates travelled, leaving the whole place deserted.
It wasn’t easy going out to get stuffs since I was scared of the virus lurking out there and the fact that the natives lived their lives without heeding to the warnings and lockdown.
They went about their normal businesses as if everything was normal.
And I need to go out and buy things, withdraw money and unfortunately the village where I was posted to does not have any ATM stand, the only option was the POS MACHINE, which is not save at all cause someone can easily contact the virus from there, due to large number of the people that will be there to collect money and the sheer fact that they are ignorant.
Another thing is that this people will even make jest of you if you try to enlighten them, the first time I went to the market with nose mask and hand gloves my name changed to corona and I became the center of attention.
Life is really difficult in this lockdown, accessing basic needs from my remote location is tough, I Just can’t wait for this to be over.
Getting posted to the North was a decision I knew I had taken the very moment I did the registration.
Although I didn’t tell my parents about it, not until the posting came out.
During this Pandemic era, I knew that I needed to create a spontaneous routine that wouldn’t make me loose my mind.
Sport activities all around the globe, including soccer were all brought to a halt, since I’m a sports lover, that announced my first problem.
As the days went by, I was already loosing appetite for every form of food.
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This wasn’t because the food tasted any different, but because there was nowhere to go.
The only way to have a conversation was either by chatting or by having an audio/video conversation (which consumed a huge proportion of my data).
Mornings were for exercise and breakfast.
Afternoons were for taking a very long nap and then lunch.
Evenings were for charging and eating.
Reading the results about the rate of discovered cases was not funny at all. Everyone was scared cause of the daily sky-rocketing results.
Coronavirus in Kano created a phobia in the hearts of many. Prayer and obedience to the rules been made by health practitioners were the only options that we had left.
This was a time that I had to constantly encourage myself and cheer up, because it was the only way to live.
My observations during this pandemic season:
1. Having a routine that is repeated daily could lead to boredom.
2. Just like how Bob Marley said and I quote “Money can’t buy life”…
3. No matter how careful one is, you can never be too careful..
4. Family is everything
So far in this lockdown and COVID-19 saga, I thank God for life at least waking up to see each day even though no going out just grounded indoors throughout. I only go out if I need to buy food ingredients in which the transport fare is thrice the normal price, foodstuff expensive, policemen wahala, no constant light,
The good part I enjoyed is that I was able to work on myself in taking online courses, attending free online tutorials, and developing myself intensely.
Hopefully, this too shall pass away and we shall come out as survivors. I just can’t wait for this to become history.
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