By Kingsley Omose|
It is not right to toy with the Covid-19 crisis, a crisis that has implications over the well-being and lives of others.
If you lack knowledge over Covid-19 ask to be enlightened but acts of ostrich like behaviour such as being witnessed in some parts of Nigeria should not be celebrated.
The only reason why ignorance abounds largely in subSaharan Africa is why some call it the continent of darkness.
Things that others take for granted such as availability and access to precise data and information are a luxury in Africa.
This absence of information promotes ignorance among decision makers and those who should know better.
The only reason why ignorance is being celebrated in Nigeria over the Covid-19 issue is because little or no testing for infection is going on.
And because you’re relying on what your eyes can see and what others tell you, ignorance becomes the norm and standard by which majority conduct their affairs.
That does not in anyway diminish the threat posed by the Covid-19 problem and the obvious inadequate response by the government and the populace.
That is why the unthinkingness of those advocating for the reopening of religious premises and schools is not apparent to them.
That businesses and markets have been opened does not detract from the folly of this decision taken by the government.
The president and his vice and some in the Presidency have experienced Covid-19 at close range and remain holed up in the Villa.
What they are doing instead is sending Nigerians out on the streets with just sanitizers and face masks and impossible to meet social distancing rules.
In countries where the government has the interest of the people at heart, easing of lockdown was done because they could track the decline in deaths and infections.
They have also now introduced massive Covid-19 testings and contact tracing while encouraging those who can to work from home.
China just carried out testings for more than 7.5m people in one province over 12 days and the US is doing close to 300,000 Covid-19 tests a day with the UK about that same range.
There is a reason why foreign governments with nationals in Nigeria are increasing the frequency of flight evacuations from Nigeria.
There is a reason why WHO is raising an alarm over the absence of testing or little testing for Covid-19 in many subSaharan African countries.
In fact the warning of the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Samba Sow, is that there is a silent Covid-19 epidemic unfolding in Africa and that testings should be prioritised.
Nigeria the supposed giant of Africa with it’s largest economy and a population of 200m has not been able to conduct up to 50,000 Covid-19 test in over three months.
I don’t want to rub this shame in by comparing that to the 600,000 or more tests that South Africa has conducted with its 35m population.
And if you are thinking South Africa is too far fetched, what about Ghana that has conducted over 250,000 Covid-19 tests with its 13m population?
And the National Assembly has received the 2020 FG budget for review with nothing to indicate Covid-19 will receive the national health emergency attention it deserves.
What is the need for wanting to borrow over USD5bn for recurrent and capital expenditure if your citizens will be facing a national health emergency going forward?
The level of shamelessness and ignorance in Nigeria is unquantifiable but that is the reality of a country that opts to be big and blind when it could be much more.
The response to Covid-19 tells you the value that the government places on you and if you decide to also regard yourself with that same value, that becomes a double tragedy.
So if you really doubt the effect of Covid-19 and want to continue along that part of celebrating ignorance, there is little I can do to stop that other than to wish you the very best.
Kingsley Omose contributed this article from Lagos