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It is worrisome that the fight against the dreaded Coronavirus in Nigeria has afforded the Nigerian state yet another chance to demonstrate its abiding hatred for its ostensible citizens. What passes for a strategy to contain and defeat an infectious disease has in effect become a brazen strangulation of lives and livelihoods, and the implementation of this strategy has further become the most pitiful abuse of human rights in the modern history of the obviously troubled country.

Granted that other countries are locking up and shutting down, what remains, essentially, a common feature of in all the social distancing efforts of all civilized nations is the creation of an alternative means for the people to eke out bare subsistence. We see that in their fiscal policies. We see it in their welfarist programs.

We see it in their well-coordinated humanitarian initiatives, like that of the United States via nokidhungry.org, which ensures that every young flesh is properly fed in this moment of distress. We also see it the other multifaceted Leftist interventions, to wit: the suspension of payment of house rents in countries like Kenya and South Africa, and the payment of stipends to citizens in the USA. In Italy, we occasionally see officers of the police in the streets dancing and being watched through the windows by the people who have been forced to stay indoors by the satanic pandemic.

Here in Nigeria, sadly, it is a reincarnation of the most barbaric, primitive and bestial style of brutal repression. Soldiers who have shown manifest ineptitude in stamping out the Boko Haram insurrection and in dismantling the ISWAP caliphate have taken over the streets, terrorising the hapless citizens. In Delta State, the horror, the agony, the perfidy is simply of an intolerable scale. In almost all parts of the South East, what emerges is a set of gory images of law enforcement agents taking advantaging of the situation to harass, molest and extort the people. The militarization of civil spaces as a way of ensuring compliance to public policy is, to be clear, an eloquent testimony to the defectiveness of such policy.

It smacks of insensitivity for the privileged few in Nigeria’s high places to slam “sit at home” on the vast majority of the people whose daily bread is a direct product of daily toils. Worse still, the commitment of the authorities to any genuine alternative program to mitigate the looming starvation is effectively dubious.

Man must eat to live. But he must work to eat. Anything that stops man from working must inescapably address his physiological need to eat. That one is not constantly preoccupied with or motivated by what to eat does not mean it is not of primary importance to him. It simply means that the need is somehow being met. It is true that man does not live by bread alone. But it is a more fundamental truth that man cannot live without bread. Any decision, no matter who makes it, that attempts to stand this logic of primacy of material condition on its head is certainly bound to fail.

As Nigeria continues with its military campaign which is wrongly referred to as fight against Covid-19, one thing is certain: there is a limit to tolerance, and even the most patient will someday rebel. The people will choose between starving to death indoors like puppies and dying heroically in the street in defence of their inalienable right to life.

It is already engraved in the consciousness of the masses that this virus which they are exposed to came into the country through the recklessness of the leaders who could not shut down the borders early enough. Nigerians also know that their leaders have failed to provide adequate medical infrastructure to confront the type of emergency which Covid-19 has brought. The people are also aware that their leaders have so massively looted the treasury that even if the country should be locked down for ten years they will never feel the impact.

If the authorities in Nigeria feel they can box the people into quarantines and coerce them to remain there without alternative means of survival, the Arab Spring will definitely be a child’s play compared to the resistance and revolution that will erupt in Nigeria very soon.

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