Do we need foreigners to fight this?

A group of Chinese medical doctors arrive Abuja, Nigeria on Wednesday. PHOTOS BY: Chris Agabi
A group of Chinese medical doctors arrive Abuja, Nigeria on Wednesday. PHOTOS BY: Chris Agabi

My little head has been assailing me with questions – questions that give me goose bumps, questions that make my skin crawl with worry… like there is a riot under my skin threatening to erupt a volcano in my head… the lockdown isn’t helping matters if you ask me, to stop this train of thoughts…

The agitation started when I saw the Cable News report that the government would be inviting some Chinese experts to come and help us with COVID-19…

I do not think it is the way to go. I know that crisis situations are the best times for us all to take a back seat, re-evaluate matters; critically searching inward to generate homegrown solutions for the greater good.

This life-threatening situation can make or mar us, which may change the entire landscape of our world afterwards and this isn’t the time to think that foreigners can help us. I mean, not the same foreigners that the whole tragedy emanated from for that matter!


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We do not need anyone as we don’t even know the whole story about coronavirus and we are not sure who to trust and who not to. This is the time that we must trust our own people rather than invite people who most do not trust…we cannot afford to make ourselves vulnerable to anyone.  Now that we have less than 10 deaths, we do not want a situation where their meddling would aggravate the problem.

I feel we can do this; we have done this before but ‘we need to have confidence in ourselves and our people’ we have Intellectuals that can look inwards and research homegrown materials that can cure this virus.

We have seen Nigerians already taking precautions playing around with plants and herbs…this is the time our intellectuals can properly verify these herbs and plants, if they can be used to cure COVID-19 or not. Why can’t we get proper research carried out to prove or counter these beliefs?

From the little we know of the virus it is a weakling, it is weaker than SARS; a virus that feasts more on people with low immunity or aged, we have a variety of trees and plants…are so rich that we have been too relaxed to lift a finger to harness the bounties of our land, yet we see foreigners come and go carting away our raw materials and we look on, this is the best time for us to start researching the richness of our resources .

This Government should leave politics aside and ask the right people. For example, ask the former President how they were able to combat Ebola effectively. The team that helped to combat that crisis are still alive and well I’m sure at least most of them are.

A COVID-19 think-tank/ Committee must be set up to research solutions to end this menace ASAP; consisting of members of the old Ebola team, the NCDC (who are overwhelmed by now) and all those who would be able to proffer solutions to end this.

This committee should be the one looking for our own medical scientists, pharmacists, chemists,  researchers and much more; this is the time our brilliant professors can be of utmost help for the greater good of Nigeria, this is when their certificates can be utilised effectively.

A compassionate, proactive government should take immediate action. Just like the American President gave an executive order to great companies like GE to stop the manufacturing of other items and focus on producing ventilators as a proactive item needed for the survival of their people, our own government can do the same and give executive orders to all these scientists in the country. There were once pharmacists who were said to have come up with drugs that treated HIV, where are they now? We need them to report for duty to save the Nation.

With every sense of responsibility and good conscience this administration must be aware that some day this incidence would pass, when the story of COVID-19 is being told a decade after, what will they want to be remembered for? What kind of role did they play? What executive conscience above everything, were they able to muster to bring everyone on board to fight this?

This is the time that all the moneys put together can be utilised effectively to generate a homegrown remedy or even a manufacturing plant that can be used to make homemade ventilators.

Maybe this is the period Nigeria will “blow” we just have to try, we have to search deep inside of ourselves and tap into our own resources!

Do we truly need the Chinese now or any foreigner for that matter? With all the conspiracy theories flying around? NO!

Please our government should not open our doors to any Chinese government or any government. We have very good people in the country that can take care of this.

This country took care of the Ebola outbreaks and we can take care of this!

We should also be very concerned and be on our toes that this pandemic does not degenerate into other conflicts. Following the news and seeing that medical supplies are being diverted from one country to another. Other countries are banning export of food. If this pandemic is not resolved quickly, we may have other issues to contend with. An import-dependent nation like ours will be in more trouble.

Actually, South Africa is already dealing with increased looting and general criminality.

Let’s have various plans ranging from an A-Z toward successfully ending this nightmare. I know we would wake up without it pretty soon and as we do we would overcome all pending and even unforeseen issues.

Meanwhile, dear reader, what part are you playing to stop the spread? Or done to add your voice?


Khadijah Abdullahi Iya is publisher SI Magazine Ltd.

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