When a BBC correspondent wrote a piece suggesting that poverty helped Africa survived the ravage of the Covid-19 pandemic that killed 967000 people of the 29 million infected, Africans on social media flew into a rage. Now those on the forefront of the emergency response have embraced poverty as a potent antidote.
Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for roughly 60% of the global population living in poverty in 2020, according the International Futures. More than 50 percent of Nigerians live below the poverty line.
The negative human development index now, according to National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 Dr Sani Aliyu, was strongest weapon used in Nigeria to fight the pandemic in the last five months.
He then added demography and the aggressive nature of African countries against the pandemic as other factors.
He told the Senate on Tuesday during the review of the nation’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Senate committee on health and aviation had sought to know what Nigeria did that minimized the fatalities of the virus—just over a 1000 deaths out of about 60,000 infected.
The Senate however noted that the European style adopted by the Presidential Task Force, which is coordinating the exercise, was killing Nigeria’s economy.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi, admitted that COVID-19 was real, but that it was not potent in Nigeria and many African countries.
He added it is wrong for stakeholders in the country to be “swallowing hook line and sinker, measures being adopted to fight it in Europe, America, China and other foreign countries”.
“There is something in us as Africans that is not in them in Europe and America, which made COVID-19 not to be disastrous here as it was there’’ he said.
“In the light of this, measures that are detrimental to the livelihood and well-being of Nigerians should be avoided, so as not to kill the nation’s economy.”
In her contribution, Senator Biodun Olujimi tackled the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, and the PTF National Coordinator, Aliyu on the relevance of face masks in Nigeria based on realities on the ground.