Following the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic in China last year, several Nations in Europe, Middle East, Asia, Latin America and others have been affected with several deaths recorded and thousands hospitalised. So far, Italy has recorded the highest number of death and the counting continues day by day.
In Nigeria, 40 cases emerged, 2 discharged and 1 death recorded.
It is on this basis that Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria (MMWG) noted with some degree of satisfaction the effort of the Federal and State Governments aimed at preventing and controlling the pandemic in Nigeria. The Federal Government’s effort which include approving a lump-sum of more than N1 trillion to fight the battle, closure of International Aiports to foreigners from 15 Countries that are already affected, closure of land borders, offices, hotels etc as well as banning gatherings beyond 50 persons are all commendable.
WHERE FEDERAL & STATE GOVERNMENTS NEED TO DO MORE:
The sensitisation efforts through the Media on prevention methods, dangers of ignoring the advocacy and implications of panic buying and use of chroloquine and quinnee are all praiseworthy! However, Federal and State Governments need to do more in the following areas:
(i) There is need for effective and holistic monitoring and supervision of the utilisation of the money approved to combat the pandemic to avoid being diverted to private pockets. Corruption in the Nigerian Society is endemic that when any devastating event occurs, another opportunity for looting has opened for the corrupt ones in the Government circles! How would that of coronavirus be different so that we would be saved from the pandemic and be back to our normal lives? So bad to the extent Foreign donors have been complaining that not much is seen after billion of dollars financial aids are givenbto Nigeria! So terrible that money and food allocated for IDPs in some states were diverted. Example is what you see in Borno State that made Prof. Umara Zulum – the Governor to personally distribute foodstuff, relief materials and money to victims.
(ii) There is need for the FG to flood the Country with protective gears and sanitizers so that masses keeping in-doors and restricting their own movements in line with its orders could benefit inbtheir States and FCT Abuja, as most people might not be solvent to procure the items.
(iii) There is need to more testing equipment to be urgently procured to speed up the number of screening exercises to avoid more spread of the disease in Nigeria.
(iv) There is need for Nigeria to stimulate establishment of several Drug Manufacturing Companies as NAFDAC reported that about 90% of drugs being used in the Country are being imported. Aside from coronavirus, certain ailments of various categories threatening human lives are being consumed in Nigeria. The development in China, US, Italy and other European Nations would definitely affect drug importation, drug costs and other aspects of life. FG must therefore take urgent steps to ameliorate the shortage and economic hardship.
(v) There is need for more Isolation Centres to take care of COVID-19 patients for the whole of Nigeria and money for this need not be channelled through the State Governments otherwise, diversion could occur. This is not to say that States should not be assisted – far from it! Assistance to states could be in form of food distribution and other items.
Total lock-down has reportedly helped China to gradually ‘weather the storm’ of coronavirus, Nigeria should not hesitate to ward-off the pandemic by declaring total lock-down to save the Nation from imminent calamity because as at today 244, 000 people are affected the world-over,, with 14, 000 deaths recorded.
CLARION CALL ON RELIGIOUS LEADERS
MMWG call on all Religious Leaders irrespective to faiths to prevail on all their followers to close all Mosques and Churches; while people worship in their homes.
We commend the Sultan of Sokoto, the Emir of Ilorin and other Traditional and Religious Leaders in the Country who have ordered similar closure to prevent the spread of the menace. More importantly, we call on the Police and other Security Agencies to enforce the ban. Mark you some churches now run on daily basis as it has been with muslims praying 5 times daily in the Community Mosques for the past 1500 years…. The onus lie with the Heads of Security like CPs, Controllers and Commanders to enforce the Government’s order. Any recalcitrant Religious Leader should be dealt with.
MMWG believes that with all practical efforts made so far, we need to blend it with spiritual devotion. As we remain at home and wherever we are, we should pray hard to overcome the coronavirus pandemic and other health issues soonest – by Allah’s grace.
Ibrahim Abdullahi, FCIPM
Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria (MMWG)
29th Rajab, 1441
24th March, 2020
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