Dr. Ugoji Egbujo
Rome is shut. Mecca is shut to outsiders. Israel doesn’t want pilgrims too. The devil is here.
Churches and Mosques in Nigeria are closing. Big churches have been told to shut their doors and save their members. The devil has arrived. And this devil is not fooling around. The prophets are humble. The anointing oil and holy water are perhaps not effective against the virus. The world is running helter-skelter. No one has issued a Fatwa lately. One would have thought that this virus which has decimated Iran has blasphemed against God too much.
And talking about Iran, the supreme leader has become a dove. The virus struck close the seat of power. Iran is no longer ashamed to beg for an IMF loan. If the reports are correct then this single virus has set 50,000 prisoners in Iran free. Once the virus steps into any prison, the government will fret and throw prison doors open.
Now can you imagine Kirikiri prisoners told to go on leave, just like that?
Donald Trump now says it’s a war. A few weeks ago he said it was a hoax. America has guns but it doesn’t have enough test kits and it’s running out of hospital beds. So some patients in the United States who have tested positive to the deadly virus have been asked to go home to their families and come back only when they are critically ill. They will stay in their homes until they experience more severe symptoms.
So you see this thing we are doing in Yaba is monkey post stuff. When the match begins, Yaba will cave in.
In Italy, hospitals are filled to the brim. Hospital laundries and garages have been converted towards. Italy lacked the muscle, couldn’t pull the stunt of China and build a 1000 bed hospital in a week. Thousands have died. Thousands are dying. The streets are ghostly.
Spain and France and Germany are united that deathly miserableness. Cities and their magnificence have been abandoned. The devil is around. Europe is falling apart.
The virus has upended the economy of the world. Stock markets have fallen off cliffs. No one can see the bottom. Saudi Arabia and Russia are playing with fire. Oil prices have tumbled to 20 dollars a barrel. And experts say they could go lower than 15. In other words, Nigeria could soon be paying people to take her oil.
Nigeria has 50 crude oil cargoes loitering the seas. No one is buying. Airlines are drowning. No one is flying. Hotels are shutting down. Cars are off the road. People no longer need crude oil.
Soon there might just be no FAAC. Governors will come to Abuja and go back empty-handed. Ekiti and Yobe could have nothing at the end of May or June. Don’t ask me what will happen.
Don’t even ask me what will happen if the virus chooses to spread in Nigeria.
This virus, like a true demon, is poorly understood. America doesn’t have enough test kits and gowns, so we can’t have enough. Without gowns and masks, our doctors will abscond once they are overwhelmed. Italy said it ran short of Oxygen. And Italy has one of the best medical expertise in Europe. So let’s not try to imagine a worst-case scenario in Nigeria. Our situation is better not imagined.
No one can tell why our president is shy of addressing the nation. This president doesn’t use marabouts. And he watches television. So why can’t he see he has to rally a nervous nation.
Once the virus begins to spread, doctors become exposed. Many doctors will be quarantined and others will be hospitalized. The morale of the medical workforce will fall. It will take a huge infusion of patriotism to mobilize imperilled health workers and keep them working without sleep.
When whole towns are shut in Europe and China people suffer. In those places, they do online shopping and house deliveries for groceries. In America, shopping malls have run out of basic goods. In Nigeria, our society is still rural. When a town is shut and its markets are closed how would the ordinary people feed? How can you prepare for a shut down in a place where over 180 million live hand-to-mouth, and have no stable electric power to store foods?
Coronavirus please spare Africa. We suffered in the hands of racists and slave traders. We suffered in the hands of colonial masters. We have suffered in the hands of bad leaders. We have had more than our share of suffering in existence. We will bear the brunt of the imminent world economic collapse. Because we feed off crumbs in grants and loans.
We can’t stand the tsunami that visited Wuhan and Italy. If Italy happens in Lagos, people will simply run away. Without masks and gowns, the doctors will disappear. How many hospital beds exist in Lagos of 20 million folks? How many respirators work in Nigeria? Lagos can’t even shut itself down. It can’t.
So what can we do?
We can do scrupulous personal hygiene and aggressive social distancing. Wash hands always and keep them away from the orifices. Shut all schools, churches, weddings, funerals etc in deference to the virus and its virulence. Perhaps if the virus sees us and our good behaviour it might pass us by.
If we are beseeching God and the virus to be merciful, then we must urge all loudmouthed religious clerics to pocket their tongues for a few months. This is March 2020. They didn’t see it. They should leave us with God, our doctors and the virus, please.