COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as ‘2019 novel coronavirus’ or ‘2019-nCoV.
The effect of the deadly disease which came like a marauding beast affected over 180 million Nigerians and almost 78 million youths whose schools were hurriedly shut down in Nigeria. Unlike before, when schools are shut down or when teachers are on strike, students feel so elated and see it as a time to gallivant, meet and greet, spend times with and neighbors from other schools. But as COVID-19 swept through the nukes and crannies of our dear land, Nigeria, it brought mixed feelings for children, women and youth who could not tell when normalcy would return to a country that lacks preparedness for this kind of pandemic.
The suddenness of its unholy arrival was shocking and brutal as most families in Nigeria lives on daily income. Businesses were abruptly shut down and the economy in its entirety was collapsed to tackle the unwanted menace.
Hurriedly, all interstate and international borders were shut down to curb the speed at which COVID-19 was marauding.
To many, 2020 was a year they wish to quickly forget as businesses collapsed. Employers grinned as they could not pay salaries. The reality of the meltdown became really serious.
The unemployment rate increased to an all-time high rate as employers had to downsize workforce.
The transport and aviation industry lost over 60 percent of its workforce worldwide.
Hotel and hospitality sector was grounded to ground zero as vehicular and human movement stopped.
According to UNESCO monitoring, over 130 countries implemented nationwide closures, impacting over 85% of world’s student population. Several other countries implemented localized school closures and, as these closures which started with only few countries became nationwide, millions of additional learners experienced education disruption.
On 20th March 2020, the Federal government directed all schools to close immediately as a precautionary step aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 which has become a global threat. At that time, while some schools were done with their second term examinations, some were yet to complete the term. While the majority of fee paying schools moved to online learnings, the greater part of learners from poor and low income homes were at a disadvantage as they have limited or no access to alternative learning platforms provided by the government. Education in the emergencies is heavily impacted as the lockdown and restriction of movement rolled back many gains in education for learners in Nigeria, most especially north-eastern part of Nigeria.
The reality is that, COVID-19 affected every sector of the economy. Jobs were lost, unplanned sexual encounters became prevalent as people were trapped together, hunger was felt across lands, businesses collapsed and some never had the support or vision needed to bounce back.
As the second phase surfaces now, all hands must be on deck as it is not yet Uhuru!