Saturday 18 April 2020

They Didn't Die of Covid-19

I was thinking this morning.... As the nation woke up Saturday morning to the sad news of the death of Mallam Abba Kyari, the powerful Chief of Staff to PMB, I could not but spare a thought for those dying from Covid-19. According to Worldometer, from the 210 countries and territories around the world and 2 international conveyances affected by the Covid-19, Nigeria sits uncomfortably at No 98 on the Covid-19 Impact Medal Table. As at midnight Friday 17th April, the USA, like in most competitions, sits atop the medal table with a whooping 37,175 deaths with 710,272 cases. The silver medal goes to Italy with 22,745 deaths and 172,434 confirmed cases and Spain coming third with 20,002 deaths with 190,839 confirmed cases of Covid-19. The UK is 6th with 14,576 deaths and 108,692 confirmed cases. As I pondered on the infamous medal table and Nigeria's position, I knew the organisers were wrong. 'Dem don play ojoro,' I thought. How can they say we have had just 17 death from Covid-19?

Think about it. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) through its Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu disclosed that whereas COVID-19 has led to the death of about 11 patients as at Tuesday 14th April, law enforcement agents have extra-judicially executed 18 persons to enforce the Covid-19 Lockdown regulations. Of the 18 persons killed was one Joseph Pessu that was shot and killed in Warri by a soldier for allegedly flouting the state government’s sit-at-home order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. While NHRC was making the announcement last Wednesday, two youths were allegedly shot dead by the Police at the New Tyre Market Area of Nkpor, Anambra State, while enforcing restriction of movement over the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet the authorities say only 17 people had died in Nigeria from Covid-19. Oh I see, Pessu and the 19 others did not die of Covid-19, they died of COVIB-20. COVIB-20 meaning Coronavirus Induced Brutality 2020.

I am challenging the number of death being reported for Nigeria. When the Phase 2 of the lockdown was announced, so many that earn a daily wage and struggled to survive Phase 1 knew it was death staring them in the face. In spite of the very commendable steps taken by many Nigerians, churches and organisations in providing food and succour to the less privileged, we have watched videos of mob attack on vehicles carrying food in certain areas. Area boys are attacking estates and neighbourhood forcefully dispossessing people of food and money. For as many that can't beg or steal, but have no food at home, God save their souls. Should they die, they will not be counted among those that died of Covid-19. Yes, they died of COLIH-20. COLIH-20 meaning Coronavirus Lockdown Induced Hunger 2020.

Lockdowns are being extended in many states and regions, meaning things will remain dire for many. Like a friend said, the government palliative is even more invisible than the virus. If you are following the trend of events in Nigeria, you will agree that while many countries are asking for ventilators, what the vast majority of Nigerians need is 'Foodilators.' Because of the hunger, millions of Nigerians are flouting the lockdown and social distancing regulations, trooping out to street corners, just to scavenge for what to eat. Should they contract the Coronavirus, and God forbid, die, please know that they didn't die of Covid-19, they died of COLIH-20. We all must come together and continue to provide the very vital foodilators that will keep many Nigerians alive. And as you do so, keep hope alive because Ecclesiastes 9:4 says 'For to him that is joined to all the living, there is hope.'

Happy Sunday.

.....Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey. 

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