The coronavirus outbreak which has been codenamed COVID-19 has forced a shutdown of several activities around Nigeria. Understandably, activities that have now been banned include public events that could attract crowds and thus spread the virus among more people.
Apparently, being a very religious country, churches and mosques are among the highly populated places around the nation as worshipers throng these buildings every Sunday and Friday as well as other days to make sure they observe their religious practices. It is no wonder then that churches and mosques have become the first targets when the government set out to shut down places of pubic gathering.
When I first heard that the Lagos government had asked churches and mosques to suspend activities that could attract over 50 people in one place, I imagined it will be quite difficult for people to observe the instruction, however, I was pleasantly surprised that heads of churches almost immediately issued statements asking their branches to suspend activities. Apparently, being a very religious nation, it is commendable that religious leaders can very easily adhere to instructions like this.
However, another burning question begs answers at the moment and it is about the markets! What happens to the markets? While it is right to shut down public places of gathering like churches and mosques and schools, it seems we have forgotten about the market places which appear to be where people gather even more.
In cities like Lagos, markets are often overflowing. The popular Alaba and Oshodi markets are filled with hundreds if not thousands of people endlessly going about their businesses. Is this not a bigger threat of helping coronavirus spread than closing down churches?
It is imperative for the government to come up with ways of addressing this clear loophole in shaping public interaction during this period of coronavirus plaque. Markets could be asked to suspend activities for a number of days while a solution to all the fracas is being processed.