FEATURES: How Covid-19 Made Heroes Out Of Many, Brought Out The Worst In Others
By Oludare Mayowa
The popular saying goes; ‘crisis brings out the best and worst in people,’ and so true of the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus across the globe including Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy.
Many Nigerians both home and abroad have come out stronger, manifesting their selfless side by extending the hands of fellowship to some people considered indigents and who may suffer more from the government restrictions on business and human in the major cities where the pandemic was rampant.
The situation has also brought out some disgraceful elements in the society that are taking advantage of the generosity of their fellow countrymen and women to defraud them.
A social media group, Concerned Parents and Educators Network had launched a humanitarian effort, tagged ‘CPE Food Basket’, a programme to reach out to indigents members as the government had restricted movement of human and business in a bid to contain the spread of Covid-19.
As at the time of writing this report, the group had slated over 200 families to benefits from the fund raised through the efforts of some well-meaning members and supporters.
Members were asked to send their account number so that they would be credited with a token to help them cushion the effect of the lockdown since the government is not responsible enough to give palliatives to the citizens.
Helen Essien, who is one of the admins of the group was forced to burst out in anger at what some people in the group turned the good gesture to.
According to her, “a lot of people became widowed, single parents and indigent just to get access to the token we tried to share to TRULY needy and stranded members. They made the work of admins more cumbersome in sorting and verifying beneficiaries.”
“Some have already been given the token but still came back for more thereby depriving those who truly need and haven’t received anything. Some had their account credited severally by unknowing donors and they simply continued receiving when others had not received even once”, Essien wrote in a post on the group.
She even accused some members of inviting their friends to quickly join the CPE group so they could benefit from what they considered as ‘national cake’ forgetting that the project is actually meant for CPE members only and funded by CPE members and their friends.
Some others have converted the season to an opportunity to scam some innocent people, hacking into their social media accounts to solicit funds from their victims’ friends.
However, there are people who have reached out to some of their followers on social media as part of their contributions to help ameliorate the effect of the stay at home government order.
A Georgia United States-based Nigerian Nurse had risen to the occasion to join hands with some of her friends to reach out to some needy on her friend list on Facebook. The gesture brought smiles on the faces of some people who had probably lost hope of getting money to purchase basic needs such as food and medicine.
The same goes for an Ibadan based garment designer lady, who deployed her contacts to raise some funds to reach out to some countrymen and women in this season.
Commendable as their efforts were, some people were said to have taken advantage of their gestures in a typical Nigeria way.
What about those who had chose to hoard essential goods and items just to capitalise on the situation in the country to make more profit.
As soon as the dreaded disease hit the shore of Nigeria, many businesses and ordinary citizens saw the situation as an opportunity to make more money.
Within few days, prices of sanitizers had gone up more than 500 percent, while face masks became scarce in the market with prices hitting the roof.
The season indeed had brought the best and the worst from people as some are showing the milk of human kindness and extending hands of fellowship, some are seeing the opportunity to exploit and further deprive others of what should be theirs.
While Doyinsola Ilori, Nike Adegoke, Yinka Ogunde the founder of CPE and many innumerable Nigerians stood out with their wonderful and selfless service to humanity in this season, the outrageous conduct of some people who have tried to exploit the crisis for personal gain was repulsive.
In spite of the repulsive attitude of some of our countrymen at this season, it was obvious that there are many wonderful Nigerians who are moved by the lack of initiative by our government to cushion the effect of their lack of vision in managing the impact of the present situation.
We have also seen big corporate rising up to the occasion to help salvage the situation across the country.
At the end of this scourge, it would be clear that those who tried to exploit the situation may not even be better off than they were, while selfless Nigerians with milk of human kindness would be remembered for a very long time to come for their good gestures.