By Stephen Ubanna
The Presidential phased easing of the one month lock down in the country’s two major cities of Lagos and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory , FCT, including Ogun, because of its proximity to Lagos, starting from Monday, May 4, 2020, appears to have exposed more carriers of the Wuhan Town in hebei Province of China emerged Coronavirus, popular COVID 19, in Lagos state. This has thrown residents of the state into total confusion and fear.
From 3,526 infected persons across the country with Lagos alone producing 183 patients on Thursday, May 8, 2020, Sanwo Olu, had projected that before the end of July this year, the number of COVID patients across the country may hit 120,000. Recall that he had said last Tuesday that there are 3,000 samples that are awaiting to be tested in the state.
Perhaps, the testing of the cases may have confirmed many of them to be carriers of the disease which had pushed up the Saturday, 9, infected patients to 386 , thus bringing the total figure to 3,912 in the country. The figure was part of the 4,029,543 , the WHO , had reported contacted the Coronavirus PANDEMIC, ON May 9, 2020. The United Nations , UN, health agency reports that 1,349,289, had recovered , leaving 2,538,770 still ill. The agency had confirmed 276,484 dead from the disease.
Note that Lagos remain the epicenter of the disease, as the Nigerian Center for Disease and Control, NCDC, under the close watch of Chikwe Ihekweazu ,had tweeted that the state produced 176 patients, Kano, 65 while Katsina, President Muhammadu Buhari, home state, had 35 confirmed cases among the 3,912, discovered new cases.
Recall that Bello Massari, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives and now governor of the state had ordered a total locked down Malumfashi local government over the discovery of Coronavirus cases in the local government Area on Thursday May 7, 2020, to curb the spread of the disease in the state.
He had earlier shut down Dtstsinma and Daura local governments including some major weekly markets in the state . The markets are those of Maidua,Mashi, Charanchi, Jibia, Dtsinma, Batsari, Kafur, Scheme, Dandume, Zango, and Danja. Others were Bakori, Kaita, Kagadama and Dankama but that was how far he could go.
Many believe that the COVID 19 cases in the north western states of Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto and Katsina, are growing at the same speed with the neighbouring country of Benin Republic despite the border closure across the country, fueling speculations that the Beniniose carriers are the ones spreading the disease in the region.
Medical experts believe that Nigeria is now almost in the same category with Cyril Ramaphosa and Chairman of African Union ,AU, home country, South Africa, which has 8,895 confirmed COVID 19 cases since the disease became a global problem and the North African countries of Egypt, 8,476,Morocco, 5,711,Algeria and 5,369.
The African countries that may not have witnessed an explosion of the deadly disease , according to the Medical experts, are the Central African country of Cameroon, which has 2,267 cases, Guinea, 2,009, Cote de’Ivoire, 1,062, Senegal,1,551, Sudan, 1,111,, Tunisia 1,031, Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, 937,Niger, 795, and Burkina Faso, 774 patients.
Of the countries that share boundaries with Nigeria, only Benin Republic going by the WHO records, had 242 cases, which is a good news to Patrick Talon, the Country’s President as he was said to be managing the health Crisis with the country’s meager resources, foreign donations and the International Monetary Fund, IMF, Financial support.
In tackling the disease, which Tasuku Honjo, a Nobel Laureate and Japanese Professor of Physiology had said was not ‘’natural but manufactured in China’’, the IMF, had thrown its financial weight on Nigeria by approving the $3.4 billion loan facility requested by the government to be repaid in the next five years.
Aliko Dangote, President of the Dangote Group of Companies had mobilised the operators in the nation’s private to support the government efforts in the fight against the disease. The sector alone, according to Boss Mustapha, Chairman of the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID 19, and Secretary of the government of the Federation had said that the group had raised N25 billion for the government.
Some of the individuals and Corporate Organisations were said to have gone a step further to provide Treatment and Laboratory Centers/facilities for the government. The Katsina born Nigerian President in expressing his appreciations to the public spirited Individuals and Organisations had cited two business moguls, Dangote and Abdulsamad Rabiu for their support.
He was said to have also cited Gurantee Trust Bank, popular, GTB, Thisday Newspapers and Partners among others. Recall that Tony Elumelu, founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation and Chairman, UBA, plc, a pan African Bank, had made an individual contribution of N1 billion to the COVID19, Fund . The Bank was said to have also made its corporate Contribution to the Fund as part of efforts to curb the spread of the disease in the country.
But the President had said that records obtained from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation also showed lodgments from 111 Individuals and Organisations into the COVID 19 Eradications Support Accounts in five designated Banks in the country between April 1, 2020 to April 30, 2020, to have reached N697,538,108.00.
According to him, the lodgments consists of small payments of between N5.00 , N10.00 to N20.00 by Individuals, noting that the Dantata Group and Property alone, made ‘’a huge contribution of N200m, Ocean Trust, N100m, NSTF,N25m, Ebele and Anyichuks,N20m, and Nizamiya Hospital, Abuja, N15m. Another lodgment that was said to have been quoted by the President was that of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship N10 m. This is in addition to the N10m lodgment made by the Association of Bureau DeÇhange , BDC, among others.
This may have informed why he had called on other privileged Nigerians and Corporate Organisations to emulate these laudable gestures, stressing that all assistance are welcome , big and small. ‘ The spirit behind the contributions is salutary’’, he remarked.
Meanwhile the Mustaha led COVID 19, PTF, had rolled new measures on how to further contain the spread of the disease in country and manage the people’s health and its impact on the economy. Part of the measures is the strict enforcement of the inter-state travel restrictions to curb the Community transmission of the disease. Mustapha, according to sources, is serious about curtailing the inter-state travels for now that he has met with the heads of other security agencies with his PTF Team to discuss the issue.
The strict ban on the inter-state travels may have become necessary as the COVID19 PTF boss had cried out that the Isolation and treatment centers across the country, particular , the ones in Lagos, are running out of bed spaces which he had described as worrisome, insisting that the country need improved testing capacity to save the situation from degenerating.
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