Labeling Nigeria a bunch of hell donned with dominant prejudices and triumphant errors would be over-labouring the obvious. The litany of years we have stood as a nation albeit limping, shows the many places we have flagrantly refused to dot our i’s and cross our t’s which have spilled over and formed a horrendous river of mediocrity.
Nigeria has always run on the scale that exonerates the privileged few, where laws are made for those who do not have long legs or those who cannot throw their weight around, for the simple reason that no one would stand out to question such abnormality. So, when some who in the Nigerian context have “ a surname” commit a crime, it is waived as though it was just a failure in personal ethics, but when a law is broken by “the no bodies” the authority, the lawmakers immediately dust the covers of the constitution and rummage for the particular section that has been breached or make quick laws and haul the individual behind bars. This is the reality of the Nigerian nation.
As the COVID 19 takes its toll many laws have been put in place to contain its spread, ranging from the closing of borders, the social distancing, no gathering of more than ten persons, the lockdowns and many other directives were given in dosages like medicine. Yet who have been breaking these laws, if not the same people that made them. when it was said that all those flying into the country would be quarantined and tested, who were those that refused to be tested and quarantined, “the ogas at the top”, when we say social distancing who are those that break such rules if not those who made them?
Over the weekend, the Nigeria’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, died, precisely on 17 April, 2020, having been ill from the COVID-19. He had been the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari since August 2015. He was buried on the 18th of April, 2019 at Gudu Cemetery in Abuja. Prior to his death, large gatherings of more than 20 persons had been banned in Abuja to enforce social distancing and to curb the spread of corona virus. This ban was flouted during Kyari’s burial. The mammoth crowd gathered at the graveside showed no sign of social distancing, while some of the attendees to the burial were there without facemasks which the NCDC already advised to be used in public places thereby leaving themselves exposed to the contagious virus. A video of one of the workers who helped out in the funeral was seen as he carelessly disposed his protective wear, which indeed is an incendiary bomb. Notice here that no one arrested anyone, everybody went scot-free.
However, recall that some time towards the tail end of March this year, that the ace actress and comedian Funke Akindele was arrested together with her husband in Lagos, for supposedly hosting a party in their home in Lagos where they invited few friends and well wishers. This, of course, violated the social distance guideline. Subsequently they were arrested by the Lagos State Government and fined the sum of 100,000 each and sentenced to two weeks community service in Lagos. When we compare the two scenarios, we see we are left with a big question mark as regards our rule of law, whereby some are regarded as sacred cows, while some are like trees to a ferocious wind that can be twisted and turned at will and equally serve as a lip gross the government uses to convince themselves about the breathe of the rule of law.
Giving the guidelines towards containing the virus is something good, issuing lockdowns in dosages like drugs is welcome, but for these to be effective, all hands must be on deck. There should be equal penalties for those who violate the laws guiding the period, for he who goes to equity has to come with clean hands. People should be provided for in the lockdowns especially the handicapped and those whose financial breathe cannot sustain more than a day, else they die of hunger. If we are really serious in containing the spread of the virus we must do the needful, bearing in mind that it is with human lives that we are dealing with here and no life is worth more than the other and so all need to be equally protected.