The Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Biafran War and the Nigerian-Biafran War, was a civil war in Nigeria fought between the government of Nigeria and the secessionist state of Biafra from 6th July 1967 to 15th January 1970.
According to Wikipedia, Biafra represented the nationalist aspirations of the Igbo people, whose leadership felt they could no longer co-exist with the Northern-dominated federal government. The conflict resulted from political, economic, ethnic, cultural, and religious tensions, which preceded Britain’s formal decolonization of Nigeria from 1960 to 1963. Immediate causes of the war in 1966 included ethno-religious riots in Northern Nigeria, a military coup, a counter-coup, and persecution of Igbo living in Northern Nigeria. Control over the lucrative oil production in the Niger Delta also played a vital strategic role.
Even though there are still agitations in some parts of the country about Biafra, the agitations have been met by stiff restriction of the government. But the fact remains that we have left that season of civil war and that season is finally gone for good.
The Niger Delta is the region in Nigeria where oil was discovered. This discovery placed Nigeria on the map of oil-producing countries. Massive revenue has been generated as a result of this oil discovery. However, the discovery of oil which was expected to improve the host community and region, turned out otherwise, because of the oil exploration activities and its attendant hazards, such as air and water pollution. This led to the indigenous communities demanding compensation as well as the full control of the oil wealth.
These demands however led to confrontations between activists and multinational oil companies exploring in that region. This has been an age-long battle.
I can remember vividly during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo when the Niger Delta Militants where on a rampage, the bombing oil facilities, kidnapping foreign oil workers and perpetuating a lot of atrocities in that region. It was so bad that Nigeria’s revenue from oil began to dwindle considerably. They were poised and determined to continue these attacks until their demands were met. These attacks continued incessantly till the administration of Alhaji Musa Yar’adua in 2009.
In 2009, the federal government came up with the amnesty program, which required repentant militants to surrender their arms in return for an unconditional pardon.
However, according to reports, while this amnesty lasted, the militants gave peace a chance and there was a record of lasting peace in the region. Although in 2016, militant groups emerged with various demands, obvious now is that, that season is gone and there is relative peace in the region, even without their needs fully met.
It was a season that is now past. It has come and gone!
Ebola virus disease, commonly known as “Ebola”, was first discovered in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and what is now South Sudan. According to reports, the 2013–2016 outbreak, caused by the Ebola virus was the first anywhere in the world to reach epidemic proportions. Previous outbreaks had been brought under control in a much shorter period.
Extreme poverty, illiteracy among the citizens, dysfunctional healthcare systems, distrust and massive corruption of the leaders after years of armed conflict, and the delay in responding for several months, all contributed to the failure to control the epidemic. Other factors, according to media reports, included local burial customs of washing the body and the unprecedented spread of Ebola to densely populated cities. All these made the Ebola virus spread faster in Africa.
In August 2014, the WHO reported that ten percent of the dead had been healthcare workers. This was however disturbing as more health workers were needed in the fight against this outbreak.
In Nigeria in particular, the Ebola outbreak in 2014 was brought into the country by the index case of a Liberian-American man who flew into the country. He was however treated in a hospital in Lagos, where he died of the disease after infecting the doctor, other health workers, and his acquaintance.
Nigeria’s quick response, under the administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, which included intense and swift contact tracing and isolation of contacts, helped a great deal in containing the outbreak.
Early this year, the Federal Ministry of Health confirmed a Corona Virus disease (COVID-19) case in Lagos State, Nigeria. The case, which was confirmed on the February 27, 2020, is the first case to be reported in Nigeria since the beginning of the outbreak in China in January 2020. According to reports from Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, the case is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos, Nigeria on the 25th of February 2020. That was how Nigeria began her COVID-19 journey and induction into the comity of infected nations. For me, this was avoidable because we all saw it coming. The Nigerian government was not proactive enough to block possible avenues that might bring this deadly virus into the country. Logically, after the confirmation of the first case, one would think all borders and flights from other countries will be baned while intense screening would commence, just to make sure the disease is put at bay. But that was not to be.
COVID-19 began spreading exponentially, beginning from Lagos to other parts of the country. To avoid its quick spread, the government had to enforce shut down in some states.
Typical of what was prevalent during this period are:
• Different forms of enlightenment campaigns on practical hygiene and precautions on radio and television programs in a bid to curtail its spread.
• Donation of billions of Naira to support the government in handling this “monster”.
• The recurring usage of the word “social distancing”, (no more hugs, handshakes, and intimate greetings), ban on church gathering, social gathering, closure of schools, and other public places.
As of today, almost all states have cases of this virus, with some attendant deaths. These cases have sent shivers into the spines of Nigerians for fear of being infected.
Dear reader, even when the lockdown is completely over, this is not the time to be fearful. The holy scriptures made an affirmation, saying, “Heaven and Earth shall pass away” it means, whatever it is that is happening in this world will have an end.
From the story written above regarding some of the things Nigeria has passed through, you would see vividly that Nigeria has passed through a lot of phases- wars, religious crises, corruption episodes, epidemic, etc. and they all passed and ended, and so this Corona Virus will certainly not be different.
It is often said that nothing lasts forever, so you need to understand that these current challenges of the pandemic will pass. This season of job loss as a result of the Corona Virus will pass. This is indeed a challenging season, but it’s a phase, it won’t last forever. So you don’t need to entertain fear or fidget, the same way it came, it will fizzle out. All we need to do at this time is to relax our minds and follow all the precautionary measures advised by relevant authorities for us to be safe.
If you have lost your means of livelihood, activate your idea bank, and hit the ground running as soon as this is over.
Dear reader, let’s keep hope alive, this season will pass!