In our series of letters from African authors, Nigerian novelist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani reviews the various attitudes of the abundant and bad towards coronavirus.
Many Nigerians celebrate that Covid-19 is generally targeting the country’s elite, particularly politicians, despite warnings that the life-threatening breathing illness might hit the poor.
The Nigeria Centre for Illness Control has actually recorded more than 600 cases given that completion of February – most of them individuals who had been abroad, and those they had actually communicated with after their return to Africa’s most-populous state, which has a population of about 200 million.
So far, Nigeria’s list of individuals who got or have died from Covid-19 includes President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief of staff, politicians, heads of government companies, previous ambassadors and their aides or loved ones.
These are the type of people who typically jet off to the UK, Germany, or the United States at the slightest headache due to the fact that Nigeria’s state medical facilities are improperly moneyed, run-down, and do not have sufficient equipment.
Nigeria: Secret truths
Population of about 200 m
50% reside in extreme poverty
70% do not have safe drinking water and sanitation
69% of metropolitan locals live in run-down neighborhood conditions
49% of children under five are stunted, too thin or overweight
23% of labour force is out of work
Source: World Bank, UN, Nigerian government and USAid
The 2020 government spending plan designates only about 4.5%of costs for health, less than the 15%target the African Union had actually set for governments in 2001
Physicians frequently start strikes over wages not spent for months.
Many of them seize any chance to work abroad – almost 2,000 of the physicians in the UK’s state-run National Health Service certified in Nigeria, according to a report provided to the UK’s parliament in 2015.
Nigerians invested more than $1bn ($800 m) on treatment in abroad health centers in2013
President Buhari promised to end “medical tourist” when he took power in 2015, but he himself invested more than 4 months in London in 2017 getting treatment for a concealed health problem and subsequently returning to the UK capital for additional care.
But with borders closed and each country haunted by its own Covid-19 problem, Nigeria’s big males and females are now required to use their country’s healthcare facilities, prompting a stream of taunts and jokes.
” This is your penalty for not buying your country’s health system,” some state.
” I believed our hospitals were unsatisfactory for you,” others state.
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Some Nigerians also hoped that the “selectiveness” of the infection might be God’s way of causing modifications in their federal government.
They locked on to rumours that Mr Buhari, 72, had been contaminated by his chief of personnel, and was gravely ill on a ventilator.
The less malicious folk shrouded their terrific hope in a prayer: “Let God’s will be done.”
‘ God pulled a fast one’
Upset at the expressions of ill will towards his employer, governmental representative Femi Adesina said: “Why do some people conjure absolutely nothing however evil? In 2017, while President Buhari had his medical obstacle, they were on an orgy of negative dreams, misinformation, and disinformation.
” But God pulled a fast one on them. He brought the president back, as right as rain. Haven’t they discovered their lessons?”
The rumours finally ended after Mr Buhari – looking well – was videoed in a meeting with senior health officials.
Covid-19 is absolutely one location where the nation can not afford to have equality
As Ogun governor Dapo Abiodun said at the 30 March launch of a Covid-19 seclusion centre in his state: “Contrary to the incorrect belief, this infection is not for the rich or elite alone. Everyone is at danger.”
So while the lockdown triggers much trouble and difficulty for all Nigerians, specifically the poor, it assists to preserve the large gulf that exists in society, hence avoiding those at the top from sending the virus to those at the bottom.
Nigeria’s gross inequality has actually frequently been criticised, and rightly so, but the spread of Covid-19 is absolutely one area where the country can not pay for to have equality.