Nigeria is heading towards a total lockdown in general and essential services, not minding the fact that this week is significantly historical in the democratic life of the nation. As citizens, our hope of having “The Problem Solver” in person of Muhammadu Buhari sworn-in as the next president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is high.
Majority of the 170 million population of Nigerians are singing various songs of grief, hardship and whaling irrespective of your tribe, location or status in the country. Worse hit are hospitals, radio and television stations, schools, banks, transportation companies and telecommunication operators, which have either suspended normal operations or issued notices of closure or scaling down on full business hours for lack of fuel to power the engines that power their activities.
Airlines not taking off
Not leaving out airline operators informing passengers of plans to alter flight plans over and over due to their inability to secure aviation fuel for their operations.
GSM Networks switching off
Etisalat, Airtel and MTN three of Nigeria’s major telecommunications operators, have all sent notices to their customers to inform them that their services might be disrupted till the fuel supply situation improves.
Schools taking a break
Some schools have notified parents of their intention to go on mid-term break with the intention of resuming on the 1st of June. But we do know that it is due to the alarming scarcity of petrol that has forced most schools to shut down operations for now.
Electronic Media shutting down
As if that was not enough, radio stations have equally notified its listeners of their intention to shut down transmission at 8pm for the day only to commence transmission at 6am the following morning.( Sure this reminds you of the 80s).
Visiting various hospitals round the country, you will discover that there is little or no hope for the officials to power their generators for use, patients are left helpless simply because hospital attendants are nowhere to be found.
Report has it that even in our various military installations; their fuel reserve is getting smaller by the hour, which possesses a high risk of heat over the hard-core armoury dangerously leading to unexpected explosion within and beyond our barracks. (Refer to the cause of the Ikeja Bomb Blast of January 27th, 2002).
Just yesterday the 24th, churches were generally empty in most parts of the country, simply because worshippers could not afford the transport fares or car owners had no fuel to convey them and their families to their various churches.
Taking a drive to Mile 12 Market, one of the busiest markets in the south-west one could notice the rate at which customers come in to buy the available food stuffs which for sure has trickled in price because of transportation challenges in bringing in food crops for sale. This trend goes round every other market in the country as no one is spared.
Reminiscent of something sinister
To worsen the situation, power supply has dropped to 900MW, a development termed as catastrophic.
On April 22nd, 1990, there was a Coup de tat in the country, radio and television stations were shut down, movements were restricted, people could not go to work and the general populace were place on perpetual suspense. The situation then had a bit of hope compared to what Nigeria is going through now without any form of military incursion.
If the banks, hospitals, markets places, telecom handlers, schools, Discos, television and radio stations to name a few are all shutting down, the question to ask is where are we heading as a nation, where are we expected to start all over from. Do we need these fuel marketers to hold the nation to ransom?