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Nigeria’s COVID-19 war: An operation shrouded in total secrecy

by newshubmag

.No photo, no video from Isolation Centres

From Tola Steve Alemeru, Lagos

It is true that there are tensions all over the world due to the outbreak of coronavirus. Like play like joke, the pandemic which reared its ugly head in far China has now spread to every nook and cranny of the world, from Asia to Europe, to Americas, to Australia and, of course, to Africa. As of yesterday, well over 3 million coronavirus infections have been recorded globally, and sadly, the world has lost well over 260,000 people to the virus.

Without warning, it came to hit the world hard, leaving medical scientists and researchers to fumble for solutions and throwing everybody into a total confusion; both the so-called giants and the midgets are all affected economically. Anyway, the combined global economic impact of the outbreak is not the purpose of this writing.

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Honestly speaking, Nigerians owe Buhari/APC-led FG, State Governments, NCDC and other agencies, local and international, who are involved in the fight against coronavirus in Nigeria, at least, a token of gratitude for all the bio-security measures hurriedly put in place and all the resources thrown to the battlegrounds, just to contain the virus.

Nigerians also must not forget the unrelenting efforts of all the medical professionals who have been working 24hrs-7days to get country out of the clutches of the virus. Again, the contributions of some well-meaning individuals and organizations shouldn’t go unappreciated. We are proud of all you.

Tola Steve Alemeru

While I feel we owe the government an avalanche of gratitude for their prompt response, I also think there’s a need to explore their approach to the treatment of coronavirus patients across the country. From the very beginning of this coronavirus season, one question that has been raised many, many, times at different corners of Nigeria is —are coronavirus isolation centres across the country out of bounds to journalists? What are they hiding?

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Is the situation that bad? Are those isolation centres so frightening that they feel any grotesque pictures that come out of them will give people a terrible nightmare or sleepless night? I just don’t understand. You people should not turn this country to Nickelodeon. We are not kindergarten children who must quietly sit down and watch their teacher write numbers on the blackboard. No, Nigeria is not a mere arithmetic class where nothing else is done but calculation.

In America, in Britain, Spain, Italy, France, pictures and video clips of their coronavirus patients are all over the internet. These are the countries that even bear the brunt of the pandemic’s assault. In recent weeks the world watched British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leave ICU of St. Thomas Hospital in London, having received treatment here for a few days.

The NHS workers filed up and clapped for their leader as he was being stretchered out. Therefore, if they aren’t scared of giving their citizens nightmare with all the thousands of deaths they have recorded, why should Nigerian leaders, particularly NCDC officials, be so emotive about it? Why do our leaders always prove so difficult and complicated to understand? Why do they always give the people one thousand and one reasons to harbour doubt and bitterness? Why? For how long will it take us to break with this tradition of political obscurantism?

Right now the atmosphere is obviously dusty with criticism and accusation of insincerity against all the agencies involved in the ongoing fight against coronavirus in Nigeria. Who am I to speak with authority, but based on most people’s grievances, I think Nigerians want to see more than figures in NCDC daily updates on coronavirus.

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If truly they are obedient and faithful servants they claim to be, they must act fast, if not anything, but for the sake of their names. They must act fast before what seems like their leftover credibility completely sink into the ocean of ridicule.

Let me conclude by saying I’m deeply sorry for all the “doubting Thomases” among us who still have doubts as to the reality of coronavirus. Whether you believe it or not, the killer virus is here with us and it operates on the basis of impartiality; it kills people regardless of who they are whether rich or poor or what they think. To reduce the risk of catching the virus means you have to comply with all the bio-security advisories put in place.

Alemeru writes from Lagos

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