Sunday Magazine

COVID-19: Angry Nigerians suspend safety measures, protocols

Many Nigerians are currently not complying with all COVID-19 safety measures and protocols, such as compulsory wearing of facemasks in the public, regular washing of hands and the use of hand sanitizers , saying that the government at all levels are not truthful about the pandemic status in the country, especially as the government warned of the second wave of the virus in Nigeria. CHIJIOKE IREMEKA reports



The safety measures and protocols the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) handed down as a way of curtailing the spread of the Coronavirus COVID – 19 pandemic has suffered a serious setback as Nigerians no longer wear face masks, wash their hands regularly with soap and water, sanitize their hands as well as avoid mass gathering.


Simply put, no more lockdown. Most citizens, who shunned wearing facemasks in public places, have the feeling that the government is using COVID—19 to her advantage to the detriment of the citizens.


Also, the strict orders in a number of public places are fast collapsing due to the feeling that there is no more active COVID-19 in the country apart from figure computation going on in the country. Many of them are reacting to the news of the second wave of Corona virus touted to be spreading recently, alleged that such is an organised crime on the part of government to rip off the international community and the citizens in particular.


Mr. Osuji Ikenna said the hysteria with which the government was pushing restrictions, lockdown and others is a fraud targeted at the international community and Nigerians coming into the country.


According to him, Nigeria is not Europe and whatever happens in Europe does not mean it will get to Nigeria, saying that because European countries are experiencing the second wave of COVID-19, does not mean that Nigeria will go through the same too. He noted that the governments at all levels are making fortunes out of the masses’ misfortunes, wondering where the governments have dropped their Social Contract theory.


He noted that wearing a face mask is a deceit to oneself and waste of time, arguing that President Muhammadu Buhari, the number one Nigerian doesn’t wear a mask, how then will the people be convinced that there is still COVID-19 in this country.


“Millions of Nigerians who come into the country from abroad are being ripped off. They pay as high as N50, 000 for tests that their host governments conduct free on them. If you wear a face mask in the public today you will look so odd. You need to respect yourself by removing and putting it inside your pocket until it gets to the place where it becomes compulsory for policy sake.


“A lot of evil is going on right now in Nigeria and this is the reason I tell you that Nigerian government is making money with the COVID- 19 while putting our lives in danger,” he argued Stanley Martins flew into the country from Kenya with his customised face mask, bouncing on the streets of Lagos just to discover that he was the only odd man on the street. He quickly removed it and put it in his pocket.


He said: “This virus is killing people out there but coming to Nigeria nobody is wearing a face mask. I was wearing mine until I discovered that I was the only odd man out and removed it and stopped wearing it except if necessary.


Some people I interacted with said that the government wants to use that to limit their movements and business activities by making them believe that there is a high mortality rate of COVID-19 in the country.


“The guy said ‘once we fully comply with  wearing these masks, they will use that opportunity to impose all manner of anti-masses policies and extend the lockdown, but when they see that we have been like this for long without any case, they will not have the nerves to say nonsense.


“The most annoying part of it is the senseless talk about Nigeria going into another lockdown because some countries in Europe are doing that already due to the second virus in the areas.


Can’t you see that these people are not normal? After all that we suffered in this country since April, they are thinking of the second wave because they are looking for palliatives they will steal.”


For Mrs. Bimbo Osundare, she discovered that the government was lying to the country after the EndSARS protest in which the youths didn’t comply with any safety measures and protocols yet none of them was rushed to the hospital on the account of COVID-19 except the ones shot by the military.


“It was since that time I stopped wearing masks. I started making up again. The only thing I do is to put one mask in my bag and if I come to a place they may insist on it, then I will wear it.


But if their insistence is weak, I will not. That mask makes someone uncomfortable,” she said. More so, Sunday Telegraph gathered that some school authorities recently said all students must wear facemasks to school irrespective of their ages, but this order is currently being rejected by many parents who cited NCDC as saying that wearing of facemask by children under five is not advisable.


A medical doctor, Ephraim Oduma, said his Nursery 2 son, who is just four years old will not wear any form of mask, saying that he’s too young for such bondage. He said: “Anybody that is telling my son to wear knows that he is wasting his time because I will not subscribe to that order from illiterate leaders that do not care for the lives of Nigerians.


“My son is four years old now and is not fit to wear a mask to school. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that children aged five years and below are not fit to wear masks.


“The reason it gave is that their lungs are not well developed to enable them to breathe through a mask. This, it said will lead to an unfortunate situation like suffocation and fainting. “For us using certain categories of surgical face mask, we know how it shortens the breath of the medics and this is the reason we pull it down for some seconds and continue. So, I will not allow my son to wear such clothes now.


When he is up to that age, then, why not?” Mrs. Folashade Adetun of Express Logics, took the same position when she said, “I can’t hurt my child by wearing the mask at her age. At three, she has nothing to do with COVID-19 and her immune system will not allow such to happen. “I find it very difficult to breathe when using my face mask, so this is not what either me or anyone else will enforce on my child.


She will not wear it. Coronavirus will not see her. Wearing that face mask is not easy,” she added. Sunday Telegraph’s visits to a number of public places reveals that only a few wear a face mask except for some eateries, hospitals, offices and others with the notice – no mask, no entry.


What they do in these places is to use their handkerchiefs to cover their nose and mouth, down to the jaw to beat the security and remove it immediately they gain access.



At one of the banks visited, staffers at the counter and some of them at customer’s care unit did not wear mask, rather handed it on their jaws, defying the purpose for it. In his analysis of the situation, Mr. Ikwuka Ubakama said: “Our governments are not truthful about the COVID-19 position in the country.


The only thing I can tell you is that they compute this figure to defraud Nigerians and even foreign aid donors and they will tell you to wear a face mask “As a pointer to what I just said, you can imagine when the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu claimed that the state spends N1 million on each COVID-19 patient per day.


“You and I know that there was nothing like that. These people are given Vitamin C to boost their immune system which will invariably fight the Virus. They were also given anti-malarials as treatment drugs, so how will this translate to N1million on a daily basis?


“Looking at when the pandemic started till when it was figuratively halted, you can imagine how much the state had stolen from the people. How do you explain this? Why am I suffocating myself wearing face masks? How many deaths do we see on the road caused by COVID-19?


“Once I am not saying there are no COVID- 19 cases in the country, there are few other cases, but the whole thing is a hoax. If I go where I’m supposed to wear face masks, I will but not wear it at the expense of my health.


“If I have a shortness of breath and fainted, they will say I have a COVID-19. Did you not hear about the Nollywood Stella Damascus who collapsed during the EndSARS protest because she was choked by the facemask? “I can’t risk my life again for this selfish group of people ruling this country.


They do not love or care for us.” It noted that there may be local requirements for the children aged five years and under to wear masks or specific needs in some settings such as being physically close to someone who is ill. WHO said in these circumstances, if the child wears a mask, a parent or other guardian should be within direct line of sight to supervise the safe use of the mask


This advice, Sunday Telegraph gathered, was based on the safety and overall interest of the child and the capacity to cope. However, a consultant Surgeon and a staff of Epe General Hospital, Dr. Cynthia Okafor, warned that toddlers have smaller airways than older children and adults and that this consideration matters a lot if a mask obstructs or is fastened too tightly.


She said little is known about how children transmit the virus but cites evidence that teenagers can infect others in the same way adults do.


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