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Coronavirus: Have you written your will?

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Sir: I walked past them in the estate where I stay. They nattered about the Coronavirus – inspected a vehicle and, one asked the other if he had written his will in the light of the deadly Coronavirus. That got me. This disease is no respecter of persons. How many Nigerians leave a will, only a handful with contestations which go on forever in court for some who left massive estates for their progenies? The matter of writing a will, some people have said, is a sad reminder that they will die and it is much better for them to not think about death and for children to settle accounts themselves when they are long gone. Have you written your will? This is a difficult subject matter in Nigeria.  

What is there to leave behind for children in Nigeria in the light of massive poverty? What people earn is not within the threshold to solve major challenges, save and leave heirlooms for descendants. It is only to feed. For those who love to read, they may leave books for their descendants but these generations, Y and Z prefer technology to reading books. Books therefore may make no sense. And if there are no children in the household, the phenomenal task would be to find extended family members who may love to read books, otherwise these books may be cashiered to public libraries and schools in need of such books. Where are the public libraries by the way? You have to travel to the city to visit a library as there are practically no libraries in the suburban and rural areas in Nigeria.

Have you written your will? In the event of a total lockdown, how can Nigerians survive especially since there aren’t many organised restaurants to the type in the United States? Some borders in the United States have been closed by order of state governors as a Coronavirus prevention measure but some restaurants are still cooking, delivering ‘‘take-out orders’’ only, you notice this on their web page. You can call to make your order and drive over there to pick it up. Are there such services in Nigeria in all localities and not only in highbrow areas of major cities? So how do we handle this disease knowing full well that not many Nigerians can boast of having food that will last them a week, except may be for political persons.

What comforting measures would the government provide to cushion the effect of starvation and the supplies of medicine in emergencies? There are no emergency ambulances in the area where I live up to 40 minutes’ drive away from where I live, like we see in the movies and the amount to hire one from hospitals in Nigeria on the days of difficulties is high. At times – it is also hard for folks to donate their vehicles for people in an emergency. And suppose people need help, where does the government of Nigeria come in to their aid? I find it jarring to think that there is not much for Nigerians to leave for progenies in the event of deaths arising from the Coronavirus pandemic.

It is scary but true. You work so hard in Nigeria with little return on investment and there are no opportunities to sign credit card slips. This pandemic is not the end of the world, we will outlive it. Recourse should also be given to the writing of wills, for death is a necessary end that will come when it must come.
Simon Abah, a teacher, speaker, campaigner and consultant, wrote from Abuja.


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