By Stephen Ubanna
The failure of Nigerians to keep to the six feet social distancing measure in the phased easing of the lock down in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve center, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT and Ogun and may force President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the ongoing lock down .
This is because of the cluster that were said to have been experienced at the few Money Deposit Banks , MDBs, branches that were opened across the country on Monday , May 4, 2020 which Boss Mustapha, Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID 19 and Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, Nigerian Center For Disease Control, NCDC, did not find funny.
The duo who had the support of Osagie Ehanire, the minister of Health had given the Katsina born Nigerian President the facts about the Wuhan town in Hebei province of the Asian country emerged disease in the country and the need to start a phased easing of the lock down in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun, which informed his decision to bow to pressure of the state governors to do so.
Feelers from the COVID 19 and the NCDC offices at the FCT indicates that the officials of the Presidential Task Force and the health agency are afraid that there might be an explosion of the disease in the next few weeks if the situation is not handled with caution.
This is evident going by the overnight night infection on the first day of asking the residents of Lagos, FCT and Ogun, to come out from their homes, which had been like prison in the last one month to breath an air of Freedom.
The NCDC, in their recent twit had reported that 245 new cases of the Coronavirus infection were recorded in Lagos, Abuja and 14 other states of the Federation which had increased the total number of infected persons since the out- break of the disease last February in the country to 2,802 .
The ministry of Health agency had revealed that 76 of the Confirmed cases were discovered in Lagos, which had started experiencing the phased easing of the lock down since Monday, May 4, 2020 . There are fears that the number may be more between now and Sturday, May 9, 2020, if the 3000 samples , which Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the state governor , had said are awaiting to be tested were resolved. The governor had said that the samples had not been tested ” due to lack of reagent for molecular testing in the state”.
37 persons were said to have been infected in Katsina, the President home state. Kano , which had been in the news in the last two weeks over alleged mysterious deaths and rising cases of the COVID 19 infections had 23 cases but Jigawa , which had not experienced much of the infections was said to be hard hit as there were confirmed 32 cases, meaning that the Ramadam has thrown the door of the state open for the disease.
The rising cases of the disease in the country in the recent time and the planned evacuation of 4000 Nigerians in Diaspora, in the face of the ravaging COVID 19 pandemic, was a clear indication, according to Medical experts that the government might be forced to implement another lock down in Lagos , Abuja and Ogun state , if people fail to comply with the social distancing measures as announced by the NCDC and the World Health Oganisation, who, an agency of the United Nations, UN, in order to curb the spread of the disease in the country.
Appealing to Banks and other business Organisations to join hands with the, government to implement the required health measures ,Ihekweazu, the Director General, of the agency, had said that the decision by the Financial Institutions to open only few of its branches , across the country during these phased easing of the lock down in the two major cities and Ogun could be counterproductive as people trooped out to the limited options, leading to clusters .
The NCDC helmsman fears that the activities at the banks on Monday, May 4, 2020, which forced Customers to throw caution to the wind may result in explosion of the disease in the country. The question on the lips of most people is : how would the government manage the health Crisis in order to mitigate the risk of exposure and the transmission of the disease in the country?
An aggrieved Ihekweazu, has warned Nigerians to learn from the Monday behavior of Customers in the banks across the country or ”return to square one’’. According to him, they already knew there would be problem by letting out people from their homes after about a month of forced holiday to avert the spread of the Coronavirus in the country . ”What we don’t want is an explosion of new infections of the disease in the country’’, he remarked.
The NCDC boss, may have confirmed the rumours making the rounds that if it happens there is an explosion of the disease in Lagos and other parts of the country, ”there would almost be no choice for the leadership of the country than to order everybody back into their homes’’.
This is a clear indication that Buhari will extend the lock down in the affected Cities and Ogun in the next two weeks if Nigerians fail to keep to the social distancing measure in banks, markets and buses. The governors may have started implementing the second phase of the lock down in their respective states, particular, in the north where the disease is killing prominent people including prominent Emirs in Kano, Zaamfara and Borno states.