Beggars and Almajiris, We Shall Not Be In The Southwest By Femi Kusa - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Monday, April 20, 2020

Beggars and Almajiris, We Shall Not Be In The Southwest By Femi Kusa

    At a time such as this, when lockdowns of the economy make people unable to fend for themselves, one would be public enemy number one to many people if one says it is wrong for the government to cook in open air centres where citizens will come with feeding bowls, like beggars or almajiris and collect breakfast, lunch and dinner. When I heard the news, I thought of lizards, ants, birds etc and realised that they are not beggars unless we human beings catch them and keep them in cages. I used to like to keep parrots in cages until one day when I realised from a spiritual point of view that freedom or the gift of the exercise of free will is an integral part of the human spirit without which he is not inwardly alive. Although animals are not spirits, I did not see the reason why I should deny their souls what I want for myself. One of my friends, Bayo Lawal, now of blessed memory, often discussed this subject in respect of the birds he kept in cages of all descriptions and fed generously as if he were feeding human beings. One day, I dared him to open the cages and see if they will not fly away to freedom and never return to those cages if their souls had not been smothered by captivity. He opened the cages, the birds flew away and never returned as I predicted.
     Turning citizens to beggars and almajiris dishonours those who still have any honour left in them and spiritually damages those who lost their attributes of human beings a long time ago.
      This is why I salute the decision of the government of Oyo state that locking down the economy is not the best answer for preventing community spread of corona virus COVID 19. After all, Sweden is not locked down as of this hour. Buses still run on the roads. Children still attend school. Departments still open and businesses are still running. President Donald Trump is angry that the Swedes have  not locked down. President Trump wants "follow follow" countries who will push their economies downhill as America goes downhill. Sweden says it does not have the warewithal to run or fund the life of the citizen for him or her. Even in New York, where the death toll from COVID 19 pandemic is several hundred if not thousand times more devastating than in the whole of Nigeria, the lockdown is not total. Some of my friends still ride on buses to the African market to buy herbs and other natural medicaments for dietary protection. Their department stores still open. But the queues are long because of social distancing. Also, they all have to wear facemasks like Robin Hood and constantly spray the air around them as they move in the streets. When I told some of my friends that I needed mega dosage vitamin c for my household and friends who have been asking me for some since I reported in my newspaper and website ( How the Chinese used vitamin c to defeat COVID 19, they ordered 20 bottles for me. Postage from the company to their residence cost 400 US dollars. Mailing from them to Lagos will cost 500 US dollars. If New York is completely locked down as the Nigerian news media make us to believe while pushing our governments towards the edge of the cliff, America would not do the vitamin c business with them and me. Oyo state government has promised to unlock its economy and provide 1 million facemasks for its citizens so they can once again regain their freedom, their humanity. I must add here that the lockdown in Lagos is not the fault of the state government. The governor preferred dawn to dusk curfew while the day hours would be free for business life. But the federal government overruled Lagos state and imposed total lockdown which is not effective anyway. Even the policemen who are to enforce the order do not maintain social distancing rules in their vehicles. Happily, I understand Lagos state wishes to introduce compulsory wearing of facemasks. This may be a herald that the lockdown may soon be over. Lagos has about 20 million residents we will need about 50 million facemasks, because we will be throwing away used and damaged ones or washing the ones we will be recycling.
      My suggestions are as follows. There should be an approved design which satisfy quality requirements.
2)Many tailors will be required to sew millions of facemasks in record time to meet the deadline. At illupeju model market, opposite the local council development area office on town planning way there are about 100 tailors who have been sent home by the federal lockdowns of Lagos. The government can recall these tailors to work, reopen the market for this purpose, supply them with materials for the facemasks and make them begin production immediately.
3) Various local governments may come here to pick facemasks for their various areas of jurisdiction and for onward supply, maybe house to house, church to church, mosque to mosque, via their distribution channels. Tailor groups such as the one at illupeju market may also be approached and adopted for this project. So may be garment making firms. These ideas are open to improvement. Once again, we must thank the governor of Oyo state for unlocking the economy of that state, so that our people do not suddenly become beggars and almajiris. Beyond this, we must not make our people fearful and panic. We may inform them about foods and herbs which are anti viral and which have helped Nigerians abroad who were denied hospital admission when they became infected with COVID 19. 

Femi Kusa. /Kusa green

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