24 July 2020
Susan Joshua, 30, sells roasted maize on the roadside in Abuja’s Maitama district. She and her family’s livelihoods depend on the business.
When Abuja, Nigeria’s administrative capital, went into lockdown in late March because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Joshua was confined to home like millions of other Nigerians. Now life is slowly returning to normal in Abuja.
“We are back [at business],” she told DW. “We usually sell more than this, but now we can’t, sometimes we eat only once or twice in a day.”
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation with 200 million inhabitants, has so far recorded 37,948 confirmed cases — that’s 0.4 per 100,000 people.
Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari has been credited for taking COVID-19 seriously.
He has mobilized all government institutions to control the pandemic and initially announced a lockdown in significant cities and later extend it to the entire country.
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has praised the Abuja leadership, saying Buhari’s administration has successfully handled the virus.
“You must praise the government of Nigeria and the center for disease control. Without their efforts, the numbers could have been skyrocketing,” Dr. John Nkengasong, director for the Africa CDC, told DW.
But back home, critics say there are insufficient, or absence of test centers and result takes several days to be announced — according to Dr. Abubakar Umar, a political scientist at the University of Abuja. “If you look at the entire handling, it is below average, so I am not particularly impressed with what the president has done so far,” Umar told DW.
A version of this article first appeared on DW, the German public service broadcaster.