Many are beginning to believe that there is a grand conspiracy driving this whole coronavirus pandemic. While several observers have dismissed speculations linking 5G technology to the virus, there still is the perception that the truth surrounding the spread of the virus, its origin and the fallouts are still unfolding.
Is the virus man-made? Was it transmitted through animals? Did someone know a thing or two about the virus before December 2019? Unravelling all of these would take ages, but in the meantime, speculations, rumours, hear-says, half-truths and outright lies would continue to dominate the media space.
Authorities in the US, led by no other than President Trump, has maintained that China was less than honest in reporting about the virus and the death rates associated with it in the early stages. Trump has also pointedly accused the WHO and its Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus of some complicity in the pandemic. To express his displeasure with the WHO and its leadership, the US president announced that his country would be withdrawing its $450 million annual funding to the body.
Many, especially in the media, attacked Trump for taking such drastic action in the middle of a pandemic but the president would not be deterred. President Trump has also gone ahead to accuse the media, especially the mainstream media in the US of being Pro-China in its reportage.
Until we find out the whole truth, the best we can do is to continue to guess. This brings us to the issue of cure or vaccination which according to Bill Gates represents the only path to returning the country to where it was before the outbreak of the pandemic. Gates announced in an article published by several media outlets at the end of April that his foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is actively working with researchers, pharmaceutical firms and vaccine manufacturers on what to do next. At the moment, according to the WHO, no cure or vaccine exists for the virus. The UN agency has also warned against the use of unauthorised drugs or resort to self-care.
Who pays attention to WHO?
Despite the warning from WHO, many countries of the world are going ahead to take their destiny in their own hands. Agreed that much of the suggested remedies may be ridiculous, the essential message is that people are tired of waiting for a universal solution.
The effectiveness of the lockdown measures announced in various countries to curtail the spread of the virus has come under media scrutiny, especially in Nigeria where the number of confirmed cases rose from around three hundred in late March to more than 3, 000 by May 4 when the government announced a gradual easing of the lockdown.
The US, for example, has adopted Remdesivir, a pharmaceutical formulation previously developed for the treatment of Ebola and Hepatitis with very limited success. The country’s infectious diseases exert announced in April that Remediserve would henceforth be used for coronavirus patients after they found it effective with some cases.
In Madagascar, a herbal formulation called COVID-Organics have been developed and attested to be effective in fighting the pandemic. The country’s death rate from the virus is one of the lowest in the world. Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea and a few other African countries have also placed orders for the supply of COVID-Organic.
Madagascar and its patrons have largely ignored the WHO’s warning against the use of “unapproved cures.” These countries have taken their destiny in their hands as they cannot continue to wait while local economies continue to decline, personal savings depleted and social anxiety mounts.
The Nigerian Nightmare
Where then is Nigeria in all of these? Nigeria is supposed to be the giant of Africa but sadly, the country has once again found itself undone by its own internal contradictions, allegations of official dishonesty and pure administrative incompetence.
Is it not sad that a country that supposed to be at the vanguard of Africa’s efforts against the pandemic is silent while countries like Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa and others continue to dictate the pace in terms of the search for cure, economic recovery plans and welfare support to its population? Apparently Nigeria has nothing to teach Africa and it is wise it has stayed away from any major conversation on the issue.
But Nigeria has no right to abandon its citizens at this critical point. It is obvious we can’t wait for God-knows-when for a vaccine to be developed. Besides, when these vaccines are developed, more powerful countries would want to take care of the demands of their citizens first before thinking of foreigners in this era of intense nationalism.
Can Nigeria afford to wait until America, Europe, China and India are done offering the prospective vaccines to their citizens before we begin to look for help? Is anyone in Abuja under any illusion that a drug developed by American researchers, funded with American taxpayers’ money and manufactured in India would be shipped to Nigeria first?
Perhaps it is about time we woke from our long slumber. Truth is: no external help is coming soon. Forget the propaganda mentioning Bill Gates and some other global players. Believe it or not, if a vaccine is developed today, the rich countries of the earth would be primarily concerned with the safety of their citizens. Of what strategic importance is the health of Nigerians that America would sacrifice the wellbeing of its people to “donate” vaccines to us?
But we are not entirely helpless except that our public sector officials are feigning to be ignorant of the options that are already on the table. It is strange that officials of the NCDC, health ministry and others are refusing to give reasonable audience to Prof Maurice Iwu, renowned pharmacists and a big name in pharmaceutical research and alternative medicine. Prof Iwu announced in mid-March that he was working on developing a remedy for the virus. If any official of the NCDC gave him any attention, then it must have been a well-guarded secret. Not long ago, the professor claimed publicly that he has found a cure that he tagged “effective.” Again what was NCDC’s response? Zilch.
This last week, a viral post credited to Paul and Solomon Ojeih of Iris Medical Foundation claimed that a drug whose patent they hold, VENEDI Elixir has the potency to effectively take care of coronavirus. They claimed that their drug can eliminate the virus within 72 hours and even asked that they be infected with the virus or be given ten coronavirus positive people so they treat and clear every doubt.
One can accuse the Ojeihs of dramatization but if I were an official of the ministry of health or even the presidency, I will invite these brothers in for further conversations. Is the drug safe? Has it been tried? Why are they confident that VENEDI Elixir can effectively take care of the virus? It is curious that the government appear not to be paying attention to the recommendation of our local experts. Is the pandemic another goldmine for corrupt officials who see every misfortune as an opportunity to steal public funds as the Ojeihs alleged? These men are staking their reputation to prove the potency of their drugs; what do you have to lose by examining those claims?
With the Nigerian government apparently more interested in drama, sound bites and photo ops, the citizens must now take on the challenge of mounting pressure that the right thing must be done. Every nation in the world is looking inwards to find solution to this pandemic so they can kick-start their economy. Very few are waiting for WHO and other special interests. No country is currently debating a bill on vaccine administration when there are no such vaccines in place.
The citizens must now rise in their numbers and demand to know why the government is ignoring claims by our local alternative medicine practitioners. Is there something the public is currently not been told?