The Federal Government and most state governments in Nigeria deserve a pat on the back for the able way they have steered the war against the coronavirus pandemic since the end of March 2020 when we embraced the first lock-downs to curb its spread.
Commendations also go to the health workforce who, despite personal risks and inadequate welfare packages, succeeded in keeping our COVID-19 pandemic profile among the lowest in the world. Through their efforts and the mercies of God, Nigeria successfully evaded the doomsday prediction that “corpses would be picked up from the streets”.
We, once again, extend our heartfelt condolences to families which lost loved ones, some of whom were among the finest and best among us. It is on record that as at Sunday, May 16, 2021, Nigeria had 165,661 confirmed cases, 156,399 discharged patients, 7,196 active cases and 2,066 deaths. From over 1,000 daily new infections in January 2021 when we reeled from the second wave, Nigeria has consistently recorded less than 100 per day for over a month. The curve had flattened, but the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 are now talking about a “fourth wave” onset.
This should put everybody on the alert. The Federal Government has also proactively instituted measures to ensure that the deadly Indian strain of the virus, which is reported to have arrived in Nigeria, does not explode. If India with its far more advanced health system, could be rendered so prostrate, the new restrictions ordered by the PSC should elicit our total cooperation.
We must go back to full observance of the COVID-19 protocols of wearing face masks, frequently washing our hands with soap under running water, avoiding crowded places (especially indoor situations), using hand sanitisers and insisting on these protocols in public places, places of work and worship centres. Let us be reminded that the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, had only recently celebrated success against COVID-19 before the current wave that has crippled his country.
We, however, urge Nigerians to guard against evils that some unpatriotic elements used the lock-downs of last year to perpetrate against innocent Nigerian communities, especially in the South. While we stayed behind doors in compliance with government orders, these shadowy elements used that period to transport thousands of strange elements in food and cement trucks, most of whom marched into our forests as soon as they disembarked. This has spawned a security challenge that is threatening the entire nation.
While we reiterate our support for measures to contain COVID-19, we call on the various state governments and community vigilantes to rise and ensure that this does not happen again.