There are several reasons why Nigeria should absolutely move on from whatever is left of our COVID-19 restrictions, as well as what have now become unnecessary spends as an overbearing dependence on some categories of health providers like test labs, including disinfectants and temperature scanners everywhere. For one, the world is moving on, especially in places where they are infinitely more vulnerable than we are – if we are to judge by how the disease panned out at its peak. Also, we can ill-afford any unnecessary restrictions to businesses in our largely informal environment. Perhaps more importantly, this is an economy thrashing around for survival. We could hardly afford to be spending on chasing shadows and should hunker down and spend on what truly makes a difference in the lives of our people. We even heard that Nigeria has now been designated for vaccine manufacturing and a few people hailed this as an achievement. It is certainly no achievement. We can see that the whole world is moving on from the pandemic. We cannot be left holding the short end of the stick, with billions of taxpayers’ monies poured into a vaccine factory to produce what no one will readily accept. Nigerians who want vaccines have taken. Those who have not, have seen more reasons on a daily basis not to. The factory is dead on arrival.
I was shocked, returning to London after some while recently, only to find out that there was not a mask in sight in all public spaces. Okay, I saw a few people (mostly blacks and Asians) still wearing masks in public places. But the few who wore masks looked odd among the multitude who had cast fear away and resolved to breathe God-given free air – which we had taken for granted until the merchants of pandemic seized the day. I naturally joined the population of the liberated. The British people have decided that never again will they be subjected to the levels of fear, intimidation and confusion as we have had in the past two years. No Prime Minister is going to convince them, perhaps ever again, to be afraid of the air they breathe. Diehard advocates of the covid-induced fear will likely point to the fact that more British people are vaccinated than in Nigeria. Granted. But we have seen triple-vaccinated people still testing positive for covid-19. That is the confusion. I could safely surmise that we know less about the disease today than we knew in the beginning of covid-19’s unprecedented lockdowns in January 2020. Vaccines have proven almost useless, and the so-called ‘experts’ only made up their expertise as new twists emerged in the sad saga. Perhaps what has now worked is that people developed enough immunity – herd immunity – through exposure. This was one of the ideas suggested in the beginning, but dismissed with much scorn by ‘experts’ who knew better than everyone else in the world.
London’s temperature may have been unusually cold for February. It was often zero degrees most mornings and even afternoons. The propensity to fall for cold and flu I believe should be enhanced by extreme cold weather. We have no such problems in Nigeria and Africa, so there should be a limit to which we subject our economy to continuous debilitation. Our people cannot afford masks and have since forgotten about that in the poor urban and rural areas, except they are forced to. Even the amounts they spend on masks should be spared them. Let them use such monies for other purposes, especially to feed in this economy wracked by inflation, devaluation, collapsed electricity systems, fuel scarcity and other things presently ailing us. The covid economy must be shut down. Those who travel in and out of Nigeria can ill-afford the multiple tests. A trip to Ghana for example, comes with an addition spend of almost N200,000 on tests alone, costing more than the ticket itself. There are 4 tests involved. I cannot speak for Ghana even though I think African economies are being totally brainless for continuing with restrictions and exploitations for the big health companies when the ‘developed’ countries who suffered the major hit for covid-19 have moved on. As I was in London, countries like Spain, Portugal, the Eurozone in general, UAE etc removed restrictions for unvaccinated tourists. The USA and Canada are also moving on after learning hard lessons from protests.
I believe that the continuation of this policy is due to our dependence on donors like Bill Gates who apparently had, and still have, their designs around gaining super global control through covid-19, and to whose monies our government operatives are addicted. A cursory look at the numbers of casualties here shows that the policies we adopted for covid were overkills, and the medicines hurt us more than the disease. It’s incredibly unfortunate. We did say then when this problem was at peak, that African nations be allowed to have a say, and that we may have some antidotes that are not available in the west. The way we were shut down spoke to open racism and a desire by a few to profiteer from other people’s misfortunes as they positioned to sell vaccines to the world. We have now turned this into an industry to exploit ourselves here. People were sent to rubbish hotels to quarantine in Lagos at great cost some months ago. Today, with N25,000 I understand that anyone could get a ‘genuine’ vaccination card in Lagos, even without taking a single jab. That is us.
We must remember those who died in this two-year period, especially those deaths that were attributed to COVID-19. A lot of them may not have died but for the fear strategy adopted and amplified by global media who profited from it. There they were all handsome and beautiful and without their masks as they beamed fear to the corners of the earth, alongside guesswork draped in the cloak of ‘expertise’. These global media people somehow suffered no casualties even in the peak of it. There was no way many of them would not have contracted bad cases in that period, but they all seemed unperturbed as if they knew something we did not. The idea that masks could prevent someone inhaling a virus that was 5 times smaller than the pores in a surgical mask may have given some people the illusion that masking and sanitizing could save them. Some died as a result of relying on these ‘expert advises’. Others were abandoned in our many hospitals, and hospitals and doctors were heavily incentivised for recording covid deaths especially in the USA. Perhaps millions of people recorded as killed by covid were killed by something else. The world decided to take its eyes off other killer diseases and cleared the space for the ‘designer’ kid on the block – COVID-19. Critical surgeries were belittled and abandoned, and millions of sick just chose not to go near hospitals because they could be categorised as COVID patients and probably chained down and left to die in isolation. Many chose to die at home. Government official the world over partied away while people were locked down, and millions of old people died miserably and lonely deaths because their children were told not to come near them. Someone should pay for these crimes against humanity, but we must stop hurting ourselves in Nigeria already.
The way Nigeria and other African countries continue to milk their people from this covid shows that our leaders would quickly copy oppressive, confusing, senseless, exploitative policies from other countries, but not those that really work for the people. It also reminds one of the story of the four soldiers who guarded a slab somewhere in India for decades. When a new commanding officer came and asked why, they drew blank. Going through the files, the CO then discovered that decades before when the concrete for that slab was freshly poured, wild animals will climb at night and mark the concrete with their hooves, thus necessitating the then CO to command for a 24-hours guard. That CO was then transferred but the soldiers remained for decades. We should ask ourselves tough questions about this policy and we will see that there is no justification for continuing whatsoever.
We should swear that nobody is going to take us for this kind of ride ever again. We should be shaming those who confused the world by making us adopt their own paranoia, their own anti-people tendencies, and their own obsessive-compulsive disorders, leaving in its wake an epidemic of mental disorders, fear, paranoia, suicides, depression, collapsed businesses, bankruptcies, divorces and separations, and the blossoming of the seed by which young people will no longer get married. Part of the idea of covid is to change the order of how things are done in the world. But who gave the few billionaires who see themselves as masters of the universe that blank cheque to change the world according to their own sick visions? Who told them that the world is overpopulated? I visited The City – London’s financial district on a Friday mid-morning and it looked eerie – like a post-apocalypse depiction of when the earth has been decimated by whatever they’ve been telling us in their movies. A once-bustling city was a ghost town.
People now work from home in developed countries. I doubt if anyone is analyzing the far term implications, because everything has pros and cons. Millions of people are now more sedentary than they used to be. This is perhaps a lot more heart diseases in the future since the old commutes that keep people active and help blood circulation are gone. The dependency on technology is great, but we Africans merely borrow the technology at great cost. We lose out eventually in this game. We have to find our own roots. As everyone now work remotely abroad, I wonder who is really doing the operational stuff. In black Africa we better not delude ourselves. We need boots on ground. We need workers on the streets and villages and farms and factories. We need to play catch up, and later join the work from home fad only after our economy really picks up and we have provided facilities that ramp up our people’s standard of living. Remote work will not build our roads, nor clear our gutters, or do the very important things that will set this country on the right path. It is bad enough that the only industries we have are music, comedy and general entertainment. These cannot take us into the future.
‘Tope Fasua, an economist, author, blogger, entrepreneur, and recent presidential candidate of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org.