Covid-19 In Nigeria: We Have Tales To Tell After Being A Survivor

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Covid-19 In Nigeria: We Have Tales To Tell After Being A Survivor

Salaudeen Teslim Writes from Kwara State.

Who Knows what life after Covid-19 would look like? The world, Inarguably,  is caught in dilemma of getting out of the virus and  the fear of inevitable journey into recession after the fight. No doubt the impact of Covid-19 won't leave the surface of the earth any time soon even after humanity win the fight. 

Covid-19 is not the first plague to besiege  humanity though, many viral diseases had come and gone. The Flu Pandemic of 1918  is worth mentioning, which is also known as the Spanish Flu, it was originated from Spain and killed nearly 50 million people out of the 500 million people infected after the WW1. It infected almost one-third of the world's population then; it's among the deadliest disease that humanity has ever suffered from. Asian Flu of 1956-1958 was also said to had claimed 2 million lives by the World Health Organization.
As common as it is,  Cholera is among the disease that  shook the existence of humanity and it is estimated to be claiming 120,000 deaths per year. Among the deadly cholera pandemic outbreak that ever besieged humanity was The Third Cholera Pandemic of 1852-1860, it claimed 1 million lives in two years. It started from India and spread to Europe, North America, Britain and Africa; killing 23,000 people in Britain alone.

Also, studies proved it that about  2.2 million people lose their lives to diarrhea globally every year, it killed no fewer than 1.6 million people  in 2017 alone. It's a proven fact that many people died of diseases during World War 2 than that of guns and artilleries. That shows how vulnerable human beings are in the hand of diseases.

Covid 19 is a contagious novel virus that's claimed no fewer than 293,000 thousands lives and has infected more than 4.3 million people with about 1.6 million recovered cases in the world. Africa seems to be the lowest hit continent as at now with about 69,000 confirmed cases and 2,398 deaths. Out of the fifty Africa countries, Lesotho is the only country with free covid 19 cases as I write.
It's a virus  that has shamed technology and medicine strength of developed countries, the world powers inclusive. 

Since when the virus broke out from a big city in China in late December last year,  some countries have embarked on quest to find vaccine which is still at large as I write. 
The virus as exposed the bad state of third world countries  health care system and it inadequate medical strength and equipment to fight a pandemic. Imagine the fate of Nigeria's health care system in the hand of this mortal virus if there is a sudden escalation in the number of confirmed cases. Who doesn't know that the situation is dire. A renowned media outfit in Nigeria even attributed Boss Mustapha the Chairman of Presidential Task Force for Covid-19 saying he didn't know that Nigeria health care system is as  worse as he could ever imagine.
Obviously, the novel virus has crippled the world economy, education, religion, politics and social activities. Within the blink of an eye it has fallen  oil price in the global market and demand for it has become very low due to the scourge of necessary total lockdown. 

In Nigeria,  it is reported that more than 50 million barrels of Brent Crude oil  remain unsold due to the unusual fall in demand for oil in the global market. 
It's like saying the obvious, if one said the fall in oil  will have negative implications on oil driven economy like Nigeria. Who don't know that? Oil contribute about 80% of the Federal Government Revenue and 90% of Nigeria's export earnings. How to patch the leaking roof of the economy in this trying time to normal status quo will be an unsettled matter on the table of economist for a while, and we must if we don't want recession to break it uneding spell in the country.

A podcast posted on International Monetary Fund (IMF) website on Tuesday projected that Nigeria and other sub-Sahara Africa countries will lose no less than $200bn income to Covid-19 pandemic by the end of this year.  
Papa N’Diaye, the Head of the Regional Studies Division in IMF’s African Department, said, “We are expecting incomes to be four per cent below what they were six months ago,” due to the novel pandemic in the region.
Though he admitted that no country will be spared the economic consequences of the pandemic, but, sub-sahara oil dependent economy like Nigeria and Angola will suffer more losses.

In his words,  the drop in oil prices is hitting the oil exporting countries like Nigeria and Angola. He stressed that being an oil dependent economy, the drop in oil price is having a big impact and not just in terms of growth, the country ( Nigeria ) will suffer a sharp decline in terms of revenue too as stated earlier.

He affirmed that the region was "facing unprecedented health and economic crisis that threatens to reverse much of the development progress it has made in recent years”.
"Failing to contain the outbreak will stretch weak health systems and lead to catastrophic economic, health and humanitarian consequences,” he said ( God Forbid).

In addition to the foregoing, Covid-19 pandemic has given birth to persistent  rise in unemployment rate as private firms are facing hard times in their income maximization and are laying off their staff out of fear and inability to pay them. Thereby aggravating the already unemployment burden on  the neck of the government prior to the gory pandemic. Few days ago there's a rumour  making wave on social media that Access Bank PLC wants to layoff 75% of its workforce and closed 300 of its branches Nationwide, this was later debunked by the bank secretary Mr. Sunday Ekwochi as a baseless rumour without an iota of truth. But, practically it may happen if there is increase in the spread of the virus which may warrant extension of lockdown. How will the company pay its workforce without patronage? Companies will be running at loss.

Aviation sector is also losing it to the global crisis due to the restrictions placed on traveling by many countries of the world in a view to reduce the spread of Covid 19. This necessary moves have significant implications on the economy.

Four days ago,  the International Air Transportation Association ( IATA) projected that Nigeria aviation industry will lose over N180bn revenue and job to  Covid-19 pandemic.
IATA also added that about  124,000 people will lose their job and the figure may increase anytime soon If there is continued Increase in the spread of the novel coronavirus. The body also speculated that about $900m (N324bn) of the Nigeria Gross Domestic Product is at risk.

If big firms and goverment's owned enterprises can be operating at loss due to the novel coronaviruse, I wonder what the fate of the farmers is? They are the nation's feeders, many of them cultivate with little resources and run their farms with loans, but now they've left their farms and exposed their seedlings to perish before their eyes. The lockdown has jeopardized their sources of income. Let's imagine a country without farm produce, it result is beyond famine (God Forbid). It has economic implications on IGR ( Internally Generated Revenue )too.

To talk of animal husbandry, the demands for cow milk, chicken and eggs have reduced to an unbearable minimum for the people that are into poultry farming, this is as a result of lockdown where companies, restaurants and markets that order large percent of their produce are closed down and the cost of animal feeds is becoming more exorbitant to afford.  
Some days ago, I the president of Poultry Association Of Nigeria (PAN) Borno chapter, Ezekiel Ibrahim said Nigeria will lose N3trillion to Covid-19 in the area of poultry business if restrictions on vehicular movement is not eased for vehicles conveying poultry resources like eggs, poultry feeds and drugs which are essential for the sustenance of the poultry sector. He argued that poultry is one of the important aspect of Nigeria economy that continuesly provided meats and eggs a source of protein to Nigerians.

In my interview with  one Mr. Taofiq a poultryman that specializes in selling eggs as a means of livelihood in my neighborhood, I asked him how he's doing his business in the wake of this global pandemic reality coupled with lockdown. In his words, people are not patronizing to buy eggs unlike before that his production strength didn't even meet  the market demand. He stressed that due to interstate lockdown there have been  sudden increase in the price of his poultry inputs. Undoubtedly, "if there's reduction in sales strength, it affects one's business financial strength and one may be running business at loss" he lamented. This is the hardship covid-19 has brought on small scales businesses.

None the less, the artisans are not left behind in this reality, though they don't sell goods, they offer essential services to humanity. The lockdown has rendered many of  them distressed and penniless. 
It's a reality that the pandemic is an eye opener for Nigeria government to hugely engage its resources to health sectors and diversify large percent of  its economy from oil; as its price is not tenable in the global market.
Covid-19 is a global war, do stay safe. The issue of Covid-19 in Nigeria, we have many tales to tell after being a survivor.

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