Nigeria eases lockdown amid terribly spiking COVID-19 Infections

Nigeria eases lockdown amid terribly spiking COVID-19 Infections


Nigerians ‘not ready’ for gradual easing of lockdown–Findings

Within a few days, Nigeria has risen to the top of the chart of COVID-19 epicenters in Africa, topping West Africa with 2388 confirmed cases.

But President Muhammadu Buhari has announced that the lockdown of Abuja, the Capital city and Lagos, the economic centre will lifted on Monday, barely 24 hours away.

Meanwhile, Abuja and Lagos recorded one of the highest figures of infections on Saturday despite reports of lack of test-kits in the country which has possibly slowed down testing speed.

Nigeria’s centre for diseases control is afraid that easing lockdown this soon might further spike spread the virus in a country where social distancing is a luxury unaffordable by many. 

Although the country has issued a notice for gradual and scheduled easing of lockdown, findings reveal that nobody accepts to stay at home a little further. This means that a lot of people will move onto the street on Monday.

COVID-19 has entered into the community transmission phase in Nigeria with 34 states (excluding the FCT) affected out of the 36 states of the federation.

Earlier when Nigeria reported the first cases of COVID-19 in Lagos and Abuja, it was a ‘disease of the rich people’ who had the luxury of making overseas trips or the other privileged few who have access to abroad returnees.

Those were the days when the son of Nigeria’s former Vice President, Mohammed Atiku Abubakar contracted the disease; then Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed and late Chief of State to the President, Abba Kyari.

Between February and the second week of March, primarily rich people contracted coronavirus while the common people in Nigeria feared less of contracting the virus because “they have no access to the rich people”.

But a lot of has changed in the trend of the transmission of the disease currently. More poor people are getting the disease now than the rich people. At some point, some medical personnel who attended to the rich carriers got infected. Currently, poor street children in the Northern Nigeria are being infected in their large numbers.

Some weeks a go, Kaduna State, reported that a gateman had contracted the virus. The gateman travelled to Lagos and returned to Kaduna all by road. The implication is that a lot of people who could not afford private vehicles would have been infected by the virus.

Recently, the disease was reported in Kano, a densely populated Northern State. Within few days of the first case, hundreds of people, mainly people whose names were not loud were reported to have died in ‘mysterious’ circumstances, believed to be COVID-19.

On Thursday, Kaduna State reported that 16 Almajiri (Street children) tested positive to COVID-19. In a statement on Thursday, Amina Mohammed-Baloni, the state commissioner of health, said the new cases are almajiri kids who returned to the state from Kano.

The state earlier reported that almajiri kids from Kano were part of the five COVID-19 cases it recorded on Monday.

She said their test results returned positive from the samples of 40 people who took the test.

She said one of the 17 cases announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Wednesday was a repeat test from an existing patient and that the agency has been notified of that.

“The Kaduna State Ministry of Health has confirmed the sad news that there are 16 new COVID-9 cases in the state. These new cases are almajiris who came from Kano,” she said.

“Their test results returned positive from a sample of 40 persons whose test results were released today. These latest cases have raised the number of active COVID-19 cases in Kaduna state from nine to 25.

“The high number of positive results from persons with travel history from outside the state confirm the Kaduna State Government’s fears about the danger of infection from neighbouring states and the role of interstate travel in facilitating the spread of COVID-19 across state lines.

“One of the 17 cases announced by NCDC was a repeat test from an existing patient. Their attention has been drawn to it and it will be remedied.”

The commissioner added that health officials are monitoring suspected COVID-19 cases believed to have sneaked into the state despite the ban on inter-state travel.

She asked residents of the state to report returnees from states with high infection rates to health officials and to maintain high level of personal hygiene.

She said: “The Ministry of Health wishes to draw the attention to the appeal the State Standing Committee on COVID-19 has made to the security agencies to accelerate the blocking of entry points into the state. Effective enforcement of the prohibition of entry into Kaduna State as outlined in the Quarantine Orders is clearly a key success factor in efforts to avert the nightmare scenarios of community transmission.

“We wish to draw the attention of the public to the provisions of the Quarantine Orders and the penalties for any willful contravention. We appeal to the public to be vigilant and to kindly report returnees from states with high infection rates by contacting officials of the Ministry of Health. We also encourage such persons to contact the ministry officials so they can be monitored.

“Failure to do so may make such persons liable to the processes prescribed for violators in the Quarantine Orders.

“The general public is reminded of the importance of handwashing, personal hygiene. social distancing and the avoidance of large gatherings in helping protect us all from COVID19. It is important to stay home, stay safe and save lives.”

Editorial Chief, Nigerian Bureau

Kings UBA is a Nigerian journalist and writer. I have reported for major local and international news organisations. I write satire. In 2017, I started contributing stories primarily to Discover Africa News Network. I can be reached on I currently manage Discover Africa News social media handles