Nigeria Coronavirus (COVID-19) 30 March 2020 – an update from Barnabas Coronavirus Emergency Network

Jos, Plateau State​

sent from a theological seminary

“Currently in Jos, we have not had any reported case of the Covid-19. This may be due to the fact that our state and country is ill prepared to handle this situation. Tests are not being conducted to confirm the claim that none has been infected with the virus. Many people including those who entered the country from places with reported cases refused to self-quarantine or submit themselves for test. This in itself is another dangerous situation we are in.

“Currently in the city of Jos, schools from nursery to colleges and universities have been closed down. Churches and mosques have been asked to maintain a maximum of 50 worshipers at a time only. However, banks, markets and stores that sell food items or medical supplies remain open. People move about freely on foot and in public transports. There are still intra and interstate travels freely with no serious caution at all. People from the suburbs of Jos relate and mingle freely as if nothing is happening. Their level of awareness of the health crisis is still very poor.

“Right in the middle of this confusion, Muslims in Jos city under Sheik NAME WITHHELD flouted the 50 maximum worshipers prohibition on Friday 27 March and gathered a multitude in their Jumaat mosque for prayers and was not reprimanded by the government of the state; the same state that disrupted and brutally harassed a church meeting of about 30 persons who had some medical experts and were discussing how to address the Covid-19 crisis in their church. The pastor is a close friend of mine. The Church is NAME WITHHELD, Jos.

“The crisis we are experiencing now is the hike in prices of food, drugs and other necessities. This is due to the panic buying out of fear of total shutdown of the state by those who could afford to make large purchases. However, those without resources enough to do that are faced with the fear of imminent hunger should there be a total shutdown hence are not supporting the idea of a curfew. This is further placing the general population under risk of contracting the virus.

“Some of our fears are as follows; we are sitting on a time bomb. Jos is surrounded by Kaduna and Bauchi states along with the capital city Abuja were a few, including the governors of Bauchi and Kaduna states have already tested positive to the COVID 19. Because of the incubation period, we do not know for sure how many will come down with this virus in the next few days. Secondly, we fear the possibility of a looming food crisis. The prices have already been hiked and some market people are hoarding food items with the intention to sell them at the peak of the crisis hoping to make high gain.

“Small businesses and other establishments and shop owners selling all kinds of goods except food items have been shut down. This represents a group of people who must go to their places of business before they can buy food for their families. This is the group that will have to fall back to the church in order to eat. I had to personally attend to a few this past Sunday 29th March, 2020. This is our situation and areas of challenge.

“What we are trying to do right now is to be making food purchase of grains and other food items as we anticipate a possible shutdown or lack of the food items or in the market so we are prepared to meet the needs of our people. This same people, you will remember, have suffered attacks in the hands of the Islamic killer herdsmen. We have been attending to the ones in the IDP camps until in the recent past, they were asked to vacate the facilities they were patching up. Many of the IDPs have been taken in by their relations in the Jos city hence the host relations are not able to cater for themselves adequately due to this reality.”