Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we examine the strategy of the Nigerian authorities in curbing the spread of the disease. Authorities in Nigeria appear brash to mete out the full wrath of the law on church leaders and members who violate the social distance policy to curb the spread.  Cases of brutality were variously reported in Nigeria’s commercial hubs, Lagos and Anambra.

It’s important Nigerian authorities understand that full compliance can only be achieved through dialogue and educating the ignorant as opposed to violence.  Worthy of note is the fact that Muslim clerics and worshippers weren’t brutally molested like their Christian counterparts.  Media reports also suggest that a State Governor in Nigeria held a rally amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

While we support efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19, it’s important Nigerian authorities do so bearing in mind their historic responsibility to provide palliatives and relief for their citizens just like other well-meaning governments in the world including the United States of America. We encourage Nigerian authorities to take appropriate measures to provide and cater for its citizens. It’s tantamount to imprisonment to ask citizens to stay at home without any meaningful means of livelihood. On the contrary, such an act could lead to high rate of crime.

In this connection, authorities in Nigeria must also guard jealously the sanctity of citizen’s right to freedom to practice their religion. Christians for one are being unfairly targeted in enforcement of social distance policy. The enforcement should be done in fair and civilized manner. The Government in Nigeria must not assume that fight against the COVID-19 pandemic implies or translates to abolishment of citizens right to religion neither is it a perfect excuse to prevent Christians in Nigeria from celebrating the historic Easter celebration symbolic to their faith. It is worthy to state that Muslims are also part of the social distance policy as it has been observed that such level of intimidation and harassment is not meted on them as done to Christian worship centers.

The Nigerian government is reminded that Easter is one of the most important celebrations in the Christendom and as such, Christians should be allowed to fully celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on April 12th 2020 without any form of molestation and persecution.

Also, the total shutdown of markets including those for food stuff is totally unacceptable and should be reviewed to enable citizens purchase their daily necessities. Authorities in Nigeria must recognize that protracted period of decay and corruption makes it near impossible to rigorously implement the preventive measures of COVID-19 without subjecting their citizens to more hardship. This is especially true when juxtaposed with the uniqueness of the Nigerian socio economic system which aside from oil is essentially driven by entrepreneurship and importation.  Consequently, an impromptu ban on interstate travel will leave citizens stranded; necessitating scarcity and inflation of basic food items and commodities of value.

The Buhari led government of Nigeria has also failed woefully to develop infrastructure and provide basic amenities. The United Kingdom, USA and other European countries are therefore urged to immediately stop him and his team from seeking medical assistance from them. He should be mandated to develop Nigeria and provide basic necessary amenities required of any responsible government. It is time for the Nigerian government to borrow a leaf from various stimulus package developed by many nations to support her citizens as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

Regrettable also is the dismal conduct of Nigerian lawmakers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. While citizens wallow in abject poverty and hunger, the lawmakers engage in purchase of exotic 2020 model cars worth billions of Naira. The Nigerian government must rise to her responsibility and provide financial aid and support to its citizens to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

World Health Organization (WHO) Nigerian Presidency President Muhammadu Buhari Professor Yemi Osinbajo United Nations Africa Independent Television Nigerian Television Authority Channels Television Television Continental (TVC) National Centers for Disease Control Covid-19 News

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