The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has turned the world into something like a zombie movie right now, with governments across the globe having to issue stay home orders, and enforcing the same by every means possible.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the weakness of humanity, it has shown that we can actually do things differently – work from home, do transactions online, worship our God differently – otherwise thought impractical in some climes.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone would agree that a total lockdown is the answer to curtail the outbreak. We have seen great measures countries like France, Canada has put in place to make this time less depressing for their citizens.
However a nation like Nigeria is not prepared for such, but Elijah Bello gives us 5 things we can do with what we have to make a lockdown possible and less depressing for Nigerians.
1. Keep banks, groceries available and affordable
Keep Banks and grocery stores in minimal operations with precautions. People need to be assured of easy access to life basic needs. When citizens are sure to get basic needs when they need it, panic disappears so we can focus on the problem. Aside sending out keeping safe messages, major banks in the country such as, Zenith Bank, Fidelity Bank, GTBank, Union Bank, Access Bank, Unity Bank, First Bank, and the many others should think out of the box and do more. Government should make sure grocery stores and markets are opened and controlled.
2. Ensure stable and cheap power, including petrol and cooking gas
Have you noticed that Nigerians usually stay indoors when there is stable power supply? This human behavior should be capitalized on. This is time for NERC to man up, and the various electricity distribution companies to live up to expectations. It is either we make power available or we also capitalize on the crash in oil prices and sell cheaper, so Nigerians can fuel their gen sets and sit at home. Same as cooking gas and kerosine.
3. Ensure fast and cheap Internet
This is another aspect where reality is catching up with us. An average Nigerian masses off his/her data more than 8 hours a day. If we really want people to practice social distancing, we need to provide a cheaper alternative. Internet is not cheap in Nigeria and this may be the time to fix it. And, no, we don’t want a GPRS data bundle sold as a 4G LTE bundle. Let’s check the speed. Nigerians will happily remain at home if Internet is readily available. Telecoms companies, such as Airtel, MTN, Glo, 9mobile can use this as their own way of contributing to curtailing the pandemic.
4. Ensure cheap cable TV and start great and relaxing programs on radio and TV stations
There is no reason why organizers of Ultimate Love should be packing up early. After having stable power or cheap fuel to power gen sets, an average citizen would get locked to their TV sets, while pressing phones. Nigerians would love to stay at home. But how can an average citizen afford DStv in this crisis? Maybe if data is cheap enough we can just NETFLIX anyway.
5. Educate! Educate!! Educate!!!
If data is cheap, power is available or cheap and more people now have direct access to information (TV) and radio, the government could seize the opportunity to do continuous education and timely updates.
Drop a comment on ways you think Nigerians could be happy at home in these times.