( Busy Brain Writes from Abuja, April 22nd 2020 )
A typical Nigerian needs not to be told about the tales of this year. Of course, 2020 is more than tough as it is now. More than 80‰ of Nigerians are feeling the heat of the lockdown, hunger and boredom as a result of coronavirus. While thinking about the number of couples who might have postponed their vision 2020 till further notice as result of the lockdown, I’m similarly thinking about the number of hustlers on our broken streets whose daily earning is currently on self isolation with three to four children. How about the market women whose petty businesses have been quarantined. Students are not left out in the mess; many students have already been giving count down to their graduation year before the lockdown. The above categories know the effects of covid-19 more than the salary earners who might not experience its deep feelings directly but indirectly affected in one way or the other. Coronavirus has crippled almost everything in Nigeria–Economic, religious, educational and social activities in the country.
As the battle with Covid-19 is getting gorier, the fire outbreak seems not to give a relief sign to Nigerians. This year, Nigeria has become a fire ministry. I’m not talking about church or parish. I mean real fire. The spate in which fire outbreak is touring the nation is not only alarming but sardonic. Lives, properties worth millions of naira had gone while many victims are left with no hope than emptiness.
On January 2nd, 2020, traders of Umuahia Timber Market, Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State lost goods worth millions of cash in a mysterious inferno that engulfed their business premises.
On January 4th 2020, Akesan market in Oyo was razed by fire. Hundreds of shops and items worth millions of naira were lost in the inferno that lasted for several hours.
On January 12th 2020, at No 7. Faagba Street behind Emir’s Palace Ilorin, a storey building of about four rooms and five shops was exposed to fire.
On January 26th 2020, the Federal Road Safety Commission in its traffic situation report , disclosed that another fire incident occurred at Oby Okoli street in Awka, Anambra State which destroyed many shops in the area. Same January, 2020, the Kaduna State Fire Service says it recorded 87 fire outbreaks and seven deaths. My God!
On February 11th 2020, a midnight fire killed a four-year-old girl and razed seven houses on Tuesday at Tolory, Railway Quarters in Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State.
On February 25th 2020, a famous games village situated at Nsulu in Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area of Abia state was gutted by fire.
On March 10th, 2020, fire in the early hours of Wednesday razed the Building materials market, Ogidi in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State.
On March 17th 2020, fire wrecked havoc at Owode market, Offa Local Government Area of Kwara state and destroyed shops and properties worth millions of naira.
On March 21st 2020, it was another sad Sunday afternoon for some Lagosians living in Agboju close to FESTAC, Amuwo Odofin Local Government, Lagos State as there was a fire outbreak that ravaged some buildings. This happened one week after the Abule-Ado explosion that killed 23 and displaced over 500 people in Lagos State.
On April 9th 2020, the Capital Unit of the Treasury House where the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation is located was on Wednesday gutted by fire. Only God knows if this was man made fire. But still, fire is fire.
On April 12th 2020, properties and equipments worth millions of Naira were destroyed when an online radio station, Agidigbo Radio gutted by fire in Ibadan, Oyo State.
On April 16th 2020, properties and goods worth several millions of naira were destroyed by fire that razed the popular Dugbe Market at the commercial nerve centre of Ibadan, Oyo State capital.
On 17th April 2020, the office of the Director, Elections and Party Monitoring Department (EPM) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was on Friday gutted by a mid-day fire.
On April, 21st 2020, the Jos branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria in Plateau State was razed by fire. How many of ‘Adipele’s’ multiple and interlock teeth could be counted ? At this juncture, one would agree with me that the tragedy marauding the country is not only covid-19 but also fire-20.
Except those who lost their lives to the gory scenes, I know there is hope after the pandemic: the market women would continue with their businesses, street hustlers would get back to the street, students would resume back to schools, our players would get back to playing ground and our Imams, Pastors would continue their services. Tell me, how would those that lost their millions of Naira to fire outbreak get back the lost hope? From where would they begin their hustling and how about their beloved families that were razed along with the millions ? My heartfelt condolence to the victims of fire and corona in our dear country. May God grant them the fortitude to bear the loss of lives and properties. Sooner or later, year 2020 shall become history and there shall be freedom. Amen!
Busy Brain is an Opinion Writer, Poet, Journalist and Public Relations Practitioner. He graduated from the Federal Polytechnic Offa, Kwara State… the fastest growing polytechnic in Nigeria