It is no longer news that the world is battling with the COVID-19 pandemic and Nigeria is not left out. As the most populous Black nation with an estimated population of over 200 million people, our government requires an extraordinary effort to protect, update and create awareness to even the least of its citizenry. This will help in keeping us well informed about any impending doom and reducing the spread of the disease to its barest minimum.
Prior to February 27, 2020, when the first index case of Coronavirus was officially announced in Nigeria, the Nigerian government did not make proper arrangement to stop or curtail the disease from entering or spreading in the country. The announcement came as a deadly blow on the cheeks of our leaders and awakened them from their slumber. It exposed their greed and negligence of the plight of their citizens who were dying for lack of proper medical attention and could not fly their families abroad for proper medical checkups. Our hospitals were in shambles with no drugs and equipment especially the testing kits, there were no isolation centres and even our medical experts were not well prepared to handle the virus.
History has it that the spread of diseases are mostly high in the North especially in the Northwest of Nigeria. This is why many well-meaning Nigerians are concerned about the spread of the virus in Kano and had warned the government earlier. We were lucky enough to have escaped the deadly diseases of Ebola and Lassa fever. Perhaps that was why our leaders were relaxed and couldn’t take drastic actions in the fight against the Coronavirus. People are dying in their numbers every day in Kano. We hear about the death of the prominent ones in the news. What about the poor and vulnerable almajiri in the street? What about the commoners who can’t afford the luxuries of life and have to provide for their families from their daily income? They don’t make the news.
On the 27th of April, 2020 the President announced a total lockdown in Kano State without any provision on ground for the masses in the state. It is on record that most Kano residents are traders who survive on their daily income. How do you expect them to cope in this lockdown especially during this Ramadan period without adequate preparation? Contrary to what was announced, people are yet to receive the palliatives from the government as promised. There is hunger in the land. The level of crime is increasing by the day. Those who can’t resort to crime are defying the lockdown order in search of food. People are living in fear of the unknown. Yet, help seems to be very far from the people of Kano.
It is baffling how the Kano government is handling the disease with so much levity. The Federal government should intervene to salvage the situation in Kano. Nevertheless, the people have much to do in protecting themselves and such includes using the face masks, washing of hands and using sanitizers, observing social distancing and adhering to the lockdown rules. However, this can only be achieved when both the federal and state governments come together and provide an urgent and lasting solution to the COVID-19 pandemic in Kano. Remember, a hungry man is an angry man.
• Deborah Phillips wrote from the Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano