[OPINION] Nigeria and a Tale of Three Viruses – Chiamaka Okafor

[OPINION] Nigeria and a Tale of Three Viruses - Chiamaka Okafor

With the continued rise of the hunger virus and its kin, the robbery virus, it is looking near impossible to flatten the curve of the coronavirus. Our public policy wonks need to take a close look and confront this sad reality if their efforts at creating an effective response to the novel coronavirus will not be in vain.

 

Welcome to 2020. The year of surprises and WOW moments. The year that fully ushered in virus. The virus that has brought world powers to their knees, and revealed concealed inefficiencies and incompetencies across board. The virus that has made the cliché, “nobody has it all” quite famous again. The virus that has made ‘prisons’ for us of our homes, cities and countries.

 

Nigeria, the Giant of Africa, has in its almost six decades of Independence been battling giant viruses whose vaccines are very much in existence, but which it has paid little attention to, now how to bother about halting the spread of this new virus which it is ill-equipped to handle.

 

Nigeria is also home to numerous other viruses. The hunger virus from the family of poverty is one of the most common viruses, without a travel history or mindful of anyone with a travel history, which Nigerians have been contracting. As a matter of fact, this is a virus that many contract if unlucky and not part of the one per cent.

 

Closely related to the hunger virus is the robbery virus, with the two being close to inseparable. Once you contract the hunger virus, you are bound to also contract the robbery virus, directly or indirectly.

 

The slight difference between the two viruses: When you are a carrier of both viruses, you are susceptible to forgetting about your compatriots who are carriers of the hunger virus alone, and as such when you go about finding the vaccine (a better life) to the hunger virus, your attack is indiscriminate and it affects everyone, including your fellow compatriots.

 

Are there vaccines for both the hunger and robbery viruses? Yes, there are more than enough vaccines to go round, unfortunately the one per cent with travel histories, our global citizens, have locked up these vaccines for themselves alone. This has an history, as both viruses have been with Nigeria in the past six decades, at least.

 

While working towards and praying for a vaccine for the 2020 virus, shall we continue to keeping existing and available vaccines for eradicating these other viruses under lock up?

 

The newer 2020 virus unfortunately has no vaccine or cure yet, and not even the vaccines personalised by the one per cent can halt the spread of this novel virus; it is a non-respecter of status or class.

 

At the outset, it was actually a virus that afflicted only the one per cent with travel histories; unfortunately it is now a virus we all share – a common coronavirus.

 

As the restriction on movement becomes an important weapon in checking the spread of the virus and flattening the curve of infections, we are becoming rudely shocked to discover that this curve will not be flattened if the curves of the other viruses are not flattened as well.

 

With the continued rise of the hunger virus and its kin, the robbery virus, it is looking near impossible to flatten the curve of the coronavirus. Our public policy wonks need to take a close look and confront this sad reality if their efforts at creating an effective response to the novel coronavirus will not be in vain. The more we keep people under lockdown without resolving the other concerns that will make the lockdown potent, the more it appears that we labour to naught.

 

In terms of the hunger and its keen virus, robbery: a few days ago the Ogun unrest was trending in the media, now Lagos has joined the trend. What locations would be next? Yours or mine?

 

While working towards and praying for a vaccine for the 2020 virus, shall we continue to keeping existing and available vaccines for eradicating these other viruses under lock up?

 

 

Chiamaka Okafor,

is with the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), Abuja.

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