FEATURE ARTICLE

Saturday, July 4, 2020
amobipchuks@yahoo.com

THE ALTERED WORLD OF CORONAVIRUS

stood in a corner watching people walking up and down a busy street. Most of them were wearing facemasks, which covered their mouths and noses. I was also putting on my own facemask. Hardly did I recognize any of them facially. I laughed like a masquerade and exclaimed, "Oh, what an altered world of Coronavirus!" Everybody has turned into a masquerade. I also observed that some of the passersby were putting on cheek or jaw masks. I was confused what to call such people. Should they be classified as wounded persons?

As I was contemplating, a real masquerade appeared from nowhere. What baffled me was that he was also putting on facemask on top of his masked face. He stopped before me asking for money he would use to feed himself in the underworld where he lives. I laughed and asked, "Oga masquerade, why are you wearing facemask on top of your masked face?" Esoterically he answered, "My brother, I am in the human world now being ravaged by coronavirus. Prevention is better than cure. Coronavirus does not distinguish between human beings and masquerades. I do not want to take chances in order to avoid dying a second death. If I contract the infectious deadly disease here, I am likely to infect my fellow masquerades when I go back to the underworld. Please give me the money I am asking for; because there is also hunger and hardship in the underworld. I hope you will die soon and join us there." On hearing his last words, I removed my facemask and shouted, "God forbid! Please if it is a joke, stop it! I will die but not so soon. When you go back, greet my ancestors for me. Tell them that I am not in a hurry to come over there." In order that he may not add misery to my miserable condition, I dipped my hand into my pocket and gave him a reasonable amount of money. He wanted to embrace me happily but I shouted, "Don't do that! Maintain social distance!" The bad odour emanating from his body was more infectious and deadly than coronavirus. He inserted the money into his pocket and ran away. I shook my heads and soliloquized, "So, masquerade also has a pocket." Wonders shall never end.

A certain young man living abroad called his aged mother on phone and sternly warned her to wear facemask always because he is not yet ready financially to return home for her burial and funeral. In addition the airports are still not open for flight. Hence the old woman was very conscious of her son's instruction. She wore the facemask in the kitchen, in the toilet and in her bedroom. Even she wore it while sleeping. She was asthmatic. One day she slept and suddenly died in sleep. What was the cause of her death? Asthma plus facemask equal to death. The facemask should not be worn foolishly. It is not advisable to wear it when we are alone or during sleep. Wearing it for a longer time than necessary has its consequences. Biologically, we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. But with inordinate wear of facemask we breathe out carbon dioxide and breathe in carbon dioxide. No wonder some people often wear the facemask on the cheek or jaw.

The other day I accidentally met my classmate of many years ago. With joy which filled my heart, I rushed to embrace him. He avoided me and shouted, "No, no, no! We are now in a coronavirus world." He stood afar and waved at me. I also waved at him unsatisfactorily. Everywhere now people avoid each other like lepers. In the church we now seat like enemies because of social distance. During the rite of offering sign of peace, we either bow or wave at each other. On a Sunday during dismissal, a woman's body accidentally touched the body of another woman. The other woman shouted, "Back to sender! Stop infecting me with coronavirus! You are the person to die not I!" Immediately she brought out olive oil and rubbed it all over her body. In addition she sprinkled herself with Holy Water.

On my way to visit my mother last Monday morning, I saw a commercial motorcycle conveying a passenger to his destination. The passenger sat behind and was holding 4x4 wooden sheet to demarcate himself from the okada man. There is also a woman who uses long and wide plywood to create a boundary between her and her husband while they sleep together in bed nowadays. Well, I do not blame them. Life has no duplicate. It is condition that makes crayfish to bend. It is good news that many prostitutes have been forced by coronavirus to repent because of lack of patronage. Most of the men who patronize them convinced themselves that it is better to abstain than to 'chop and die.' One hardened customer of the prostitutes contracted the coronavirus and infected his wife and five children. They were isolated. Later the man and his wife died of the virus. The children became automatically orphans. When the departed couple stood before the judgment seat of God, they were asked what killed them on earth. The wife started crying for dying untimely due to her husband's waywardness. Pitifully, God consoled her and sent her to enjoy everlasting happiness in heaven while the husband was sentenced to everlasting torment in hell. The Holy Writ tells us that we shall reap what we sowed (Galatians 6:7).

Coronavirus forced churches, mosques, markets, viewing centers, cinema, etc to shut down nationwide. In some states churches and mosques have been partially opened with caution of observing the WHO protocols. But in some states, churches and mosques are still under lock and key for fear of coronavirus. Biblically speaking, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Today, the fear of Coronavirus is the beginning of an altered world. Some believe that coronavirus is more devilish than the devil. This is because the devil can come into the church or mosque to seek for followers. On the other hand, coronavirus is barred from coming into the church or mosque at all. Regrettably our primary, secondary and tertiary institutions are still shut. As a result many brains are rotting away. It is good news to hear that the federal government has approved primary six pupils, JSS 3 and SSS 3 students to go back to school and prepare for their final examinations. Cultism is increasing. Crime is on the rise. Kidnapping, terrorism and banditry are on the increase. Hardship has pushed some of our idle youths into scamming. Because an idle mind is the devil's workshop, the raping of women and little girls has tripled nationwide. Also in some places coronavirus has been commercialized.

The coronavirus pandemic has crippled world economies. The World Powers are falling economically. The hunger that kills a rich man buries the poor man alive. Hence the poor countries have become poorer. Our country Nigeria, which is the headquarters of poverty, is in hot soup. The Federal Government has resorted to borrowing. Who will repay such huge debts? This country is toeing the path of a failed Nation. If care is not taken, Nigeria will soon be auctioned to the highest bidder due to her huge debt. By so doing, Nigeria will cease to exist as an independent Nation. It is clear that our country Nigeria is blessed with rich human and natural resources. Our problem is mismanagement and bad leadership. When will the messiah come? Our coldness has been worsened by the outbreak of harmattan (coronavirus). All Nigerians today have developed coro-coro eyes. Get a mirror and look into your own eyes. Do you not see the coro-coro in it? If you do not see it, kindly see an ophthalmologist immediately before it becomes late. Blindness is imminent if your coro-coro eye problem is not treated on time.

The altered coronavirus world does not affect only the living. The dead are also adversely affected. Thousands of dead bodies are lying helplessly in different mortuaries nationwide. There is a limit to endurance. Patience can often lose temper. Few days ago, a group of corpses in an undisclosed hospital mortuary, waiting for their burial, lost temper for being abandoned for a long time. On that fateful day, they angrily staged a violent protest. First, they beat the morticians mercilessly. Then they proceeded to the doctors' quarter for further riot. On sighting the angry corpses, the doctors jumped out of the window and scaled the hospital wall and ran away to unknown destinations. The corpses reversed and proceeded to the ward. Out of fear, the patients on admission ran helter-skelter. Even those who were bedridden ran away. The nurses themselves pulled off their attires and ran away half naked. The security men abandoned their duty post and took to their heels.

For now, the angry corpses are about to visit their families to deal mercilessly with them for abandoning them in the mortuary, thereby preventing them to rest in peace. An impending war does not consume a lame man. Coronavirus has changed the world. Therefore burial and funeral ceremonies will no longer be as usual. The dead should be buried as soon as possible in order to allow them to rest in peace. The coldness of the mortuary affects them adversely. Reliable information reaching me says that the corpses abandoned in different mortuaries due to coronavirus pandemic have issued the bereaved families two weeks' ultimatum to bury them or else they face dire consequences.

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