The Chairperson, Oyo State Decontamination project, Prof. Olanike Adeyemo, who said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan on Monday, added that such ignorance and denial could make the coronavirus difficult to contain.
Adeyemo was speaking against the backdrop of the conspiracy theory of the nonexistence of the virus, being circulated among the public.
The theory is believed to be having an impact on the public’s level of compliance with safety protocols put in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
“It is a bit of ignorance on the part of the people, who do not know as much as they should – those that may be uneducated and a bit of denial.
“We can be educated but illiterate at the same time.
“For me, this COVID-19 has shown that it is not going to school that makes you educated.
“This is because the kind of conspiracy theory that is flying around makes it even a bit difficult to separate the educated from the uneducated.
“If you hear what the educated are saying it is actually tedious.
“For the uneducated, if you have somebody that is educated around you, you will prefer to look up to them to guide you.
“But most people around now – even the educated ones – are buying into the conspiracy theory.
“They say, ‘Oh COVID-19 is a scam in Nigeria’, ‘the government is just using it to make money’,” she said.
She decried a situation where Nigerians made jokes of everything and the negative effect that kind of attitude could have on efforts at containing the spread of the virus.
She, therefore, urged those at the helm of affairs at isolation centres across the states to be circumspect in disseminating some kind of information that could jeopardise the fight against COVID-19.
“There was one that I saw recently, pictures in which they showed a man that was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the UK and then they showed another one in an isolation centre in Nigeria where somebody was cooking.
“And they said how come the isolation centres in the UK somebody is in a coma and in the Nigerian isolation centres they are busy dancing and eating.
“On the part of those in the isolation centres, putting out such a thing is a bit irresponsible.
“I think preventing such will also help.
“When you say you have an isolation centre, it should not be a theatre arts or cinema.
“We do a lot of things carelessly in Nigeria.
“Isolation centres should not be places where pictures should be coming out from and people begin to say all sorts of things.
“I think those kinds of things are also discouraging people who are not so well educated.
“So anybody that is not taking care of himself or herself is posing danger to himself/herself and anybody around him/her because we don’t know who is going to have the serious one.
“And even if that is not the case, you have loved ones that may contract the serious strain of the virus and it leads to death,” she said.
Adeyemo described the efforts being made to contain the speed of the virus as war-like.
“People use the analogy of a war. This is like a war situation, where nobody is talking about anything other than survival,” she said.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)