The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has revealed that the number of active COVID-19 cases in Nigeria increased and experienced a surge in the number of active cases from 3,000 to over 6,000 within the last few days.
At the time of this writing, reports showed that only about 3% of Nigeria's population has received a full course of vaccines against Covid - a very low rate even compared with other countries in Africa.
There are so many factors responsible for this low rate. The enthusiasm to take the vaccine remain low, there is hesitancy to take it. Some Nigerians see religious beliefs and prayers as more effective than the vaccine. There are constant rumors and disinformation, spreading throughout social media, which have reduced the demand for COVID-19 vaccines, even though supply issues remain. That the vaccine was a biological weapon from advanced countries to control population growth. Within the Nigeria settings, COVID-19 vaccines is a process endangered by corruption. Corruption risks such as embezzlement is already a matter of concern. The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has commenced an investigation into the use of the N950 million COVID-19 Intervention Fund by the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital and all other health institutions that benefited from the COVID-19 Intervention Fund of the Federal Government.
Due to an apparent violation of the provisions of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 by the beneficiaries of the Fund.
Even with supplies coming, the main challenge now is how to deliver the vaccines. The system to deliver the vaccine is not adequate. Logistical challenges, such as securing enough syringes remains. Now we have as many or more than 1 million doses of covid-19 vaccines reportedly expired before they could be used in Nigeria.
Apart from supply and demand issues, there is reluctance by many Nigerians to respect and adhere to the three Ws — wearing your mask, washing your hands, and watching your distance.
With the new covid-19 variant, omicron being detected in Nigerians entering other countries, high income nations like the UK, Canada, and UAE have placed travel restrictions on Nigeria.
Now Nigerian government said it plans to put Canada, UAE especially, on Covid-19 “red list” which would imply a ban on flights.
Nigeria must stop being made a dot in a circle, and no, these foreign policies on COVID-19 restrictions are not racist, inappropriate, and discriminatory.
For example, in UK, 21 or more cases of Omicron recorded in England were linked to travelers from Nigeria. Certainly, Nigeria as a nation have the right to reciprocate harm of any type but in this case, given Nigeria’s poor preparations and other limiting factors to the COVID-19 pandemic, it should stop even thinking about retaliation, not when Nigeria remains a noticeable a dot in a circle, before the eyes of these high economy nations.
Here are some words attributed to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika: “since they did not want citizens from Nigeria visiting their country, their citizens also have no business visiting Nigeria’’, and ““As they did to us, if they do not allow our citizens into their countries; who are they coming, as airlines, to pick from our country”. They are not needed at all, as they will further dig Nigeria into deeper whole.
Now, see what UAE just did, it has directed foreign airlines not to bring Nigerians to UAE. As such Nigerian passengers are being denied boarding on foreign airlines at international airports in Nigeria,
For example, Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Air, and other international airlines going to Dubai from their bases have also been directed not to board any passenger with Nigerian passport whose destination is Dubai, UAE.
No, no one should apologize to each other but as Nigeria is a dot in a circle, meaning very susceptible to these rich economies, Nigeria should be smart, or it can be further pushing itself towards self-induced national suicidal. The people must seriously abide by COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions established by health officials, who equally must do the same. Nigeria must start expressing its commitment to rectify the lingering challenges surrounding Covid 19 as that will not only reduce the covid 19 infections, but it will also make the world respect Nigeria more, and through diplomacy a softer foreign policy could expand to Nigeria in respect to the coronavirus and its variants.
John Egbeazien Oshodi who was born in Uromi, Edo State in Nigeria, is an American based Police/Prison Scientist and Forensic/Clinical/Legal Psychologist. A government Consultant on matters of forensic-clinical adult/child psychological services in the USA; Chief Educator and Clinician at the Transatlantic Enrichment and Refresher Institute, an Online Lifelong Center for Personal, Professional and Career Development. A former Interim Associate Dean/Assistant Professor at the Broward College, Florida. The Founder of the Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi Foundation, Center for Psychological Health and Behavioral Change in African settings. In 2011, he introduced the State-of-the-Art Forensic Psychology into Nigeria through N.U.C and the Nasarawa State University where he served in the Department of Psychology as an Associate Professor. The Development Professor and International Liaison Consultant at the African University of Benin, and a Virtual Faculty at the ISCOM University, Benin of Republic. Founder of the Proposed Transatlantic Egbeazien University (TEU) of Values and Ethics, a digital project of Truth, Ethics, Openness. Author of over 40 academic publications/creations, at least 200 public opinion writeups on African issues, and various books.
John Egbeazien Oshodi wrote in via [email protected]