UNITING AGAINST A COMMON ENEMY

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Since February 25th when the index case of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic was confirmed in Nigeria via an Italian, there has been a steady increase in the figure of infected people.  As at 11:45pm, on Thursday, April 23rd, the country has 981 confirmed cases of the pandemic across 26 States and the FCT while 31 of our compatriots have equally been lost to this evil virus.

Understandably, Lagos remains the epicentre of the pandemic with 582 confirmed cases while the FCT comes next with 133 cases. They are both followed by Kano, Ogun and Katsina with 73, 29 and 21 cases respectively.

The rising profile of the pandemic in Kano is particularly dreadful, considering the huge population the famous pyramid city. No doubt, cases of the pandemic is progressively rising across the country.

It has, however, not been all gloomy, as there have equally been an impressive increase in the number of discharged cases. Thus far, we have witnessed a total of 197 discharged cases across the country, with Lagos having the highest figure.

Logically, the steady rise in cases of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country should give everyone a cause for worry. The need to put up a common front against the spread of deadly virus can, thus, not be over-emphasised.

It is quite ironic that many still regard the evil virus a hoax, claiming it is not a black man’s ailment. Ignorantly, many have equally labelled it a rich man’s pandemic. In some parts of the country, people still congregate without regard to the social distancing rule. Even in places where the lockdown has been proclaimed, as part of efforts to reduce the spread of the virus, many still carry on with business as usual.

The need to shun all forms of large gathering, and even stay at home, where necessary, has become quite essential. This is the most effective way to break the circle of transmission, as it has worked very well in other places.

Similarly, all States in the country must effectively collaborate with the Federal Government in the fight against this lethal but invincible adversary. As it has been observed in a few cases, this is not the time for needless politicking. The enemy we are up against does not recognise partisan gulf or any such divisive platforms.

Choosing to play politics at this crucial time would be highly insensitive and counterproductive. Therefore, we must set aside every discordant tendency, no matter how cogent, and stand together in this hour of crisis.

On its part, the Federal Government and all its agencies must be fair to all in the handling of all COVID-19 related issues, especially as it relates to the distribution of relief packages and provision of essential technical support to affected States.

We commend the role of the private sector, faith-based organisations and other well-meaning individuals in providing vital support for the government in the battle against the lethal virus. This is quite laudable, as it is quite obvious that the government alone cannot pull this one through. Therefore, every support surely counts.

However, we call on more compatriots of means to come on board, especially in terms of provision of palliatives to vulnerable members of the society as well as members of the informal sector who solely depend on daily income for economic survival.

Equally, dealers in essential medical and food items must not engage in undue price hiking. It is true that business is solely profit driven, but excessive profiteering from such national tragedy should not be contemplated. It would be contrary to the basic ideal of patriotism.

If we can stick together against the noisome pestilence, with a common vision and goal, victory is surely in sight.  The enemy that confronts us knows no language. It knows no tribe. It knows no political affiliation. Neither does religion means anything to it. It has no respect for neither the rich nor the poor. All it wants is blood.

Therefore, we need to come to term with the reality of what we are contending with. More technologically and economically advanced nations of the world are cringing under the lethal blows of this unseen foe. The mighty are falling and hitherto potent instruments of warfare are being effortlessly demystified.

Perhaps more importantly, it is imperative to emphasize that COVID-19 patients that have been given a clean bill of health must not be stigmatized. It will be insensitive and absurd to do such since the appropriate authorities have confirmed them free of the virus. Rather than complicate things for them, we must help to fully integrate them into the society. Remember, it could have been anyone.

As in the case of Ebola, this tough time shall also pass. As Governor Sanwo-Olu, the dynamic COVID-19 Incident Commander of Lagos State, rightly affirmed: “We have overcome more challenging situation in the past, and we shall surely surmount this also”.

But then, we must be willing to observe all precautionary measures put in place by the appropriate authorities to curtail the spread of the pandemic.

Together, we shall overcome this pandemic!

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