Nigeria like many other African countries always like to take a cue from their European counterparts forgetting about the practicability of the model employed.
The Chinese government, on the one hand, deployed the lockdown method to curb the spread of COVID-19 although draconian in the implementation which yielded the desired result. The Europeans, on the other hand, assessed their environment and culture and came up with the concept of social distancing as that’s the most suitable in an European western configuration.
The government envisaged and identified the negative social-economic, and financial impact of the stay at home order and then rolled out palliatives in form of financial relief to cushion the effect of the financial strain on an average family during this precarious and perilous times. The government understands that mental health could deteriorate and begin to sink into mediocrity as human beings are considered social animals, they set up phone lines where people can reach out should the need arises to speak with a psychologist.
When I heard Nigeria adopted this formula I quickly embarked on some irresponsible rhetorics regarding the workability then I re-evaluated the scenario and concluded that we’re headed in the wrong trajectory.
Firstly, the vast majority of the populace live in extreme poverty thereby making an average housing look like a luxury. This vast demography settle in a nucleated, congested, and unhealthy environment where social distancing measures is seemingly impracticable.
Secondly, a large chunk of the population live hand to mouth meaning they can only feed if they work on a daily basis. The lack of database which has been the major drawback of our economic development has made it impossible to roll out financial relief adequately. Trouble and anarchy looms as people have started flouting the lockdown order, these individuals do not have a choice as they’ve been left with their faith, the basic needs like electricity, social security, employment opportunities, infrastructures, etc are absent and in some cases non-existent.
I do not understand a government that would implement a lockdown and not have a robust plan for the most susceptible individuals like a Door- to – Door feeding strategy and the provision of basic amenities. Sadly, in a nation like Nigeria, a copy and paste strategy like the case of their European counterparts cannot work as the financial and economic impact is more likely to kill than the virus itself. It’s about time they went back to the drawing board.
By Akintayo J. Akingbade
Email : Akintayoakingbade@gmail.com