The statement “Prevention is better than cure” is a common saying amongst most Nigerians as more of a statement than an action. When it comes to prevention, the average Nigerian never takes it serious unless it is really severe and he or she can perceive an imminent death. Nigerians see some of the preventive measure as a stress and undue pressure to their way of life.
There are times one would think that the average Nigerian has certain inbuilt supernatural powers that makes him immune to certain dangers that he is been advised against. A typical example of one of the preventive measures is the provision of pedestrian bridges over highways. Despite several warnings as well as accidents which have resulted in loss of lives and causing serious injuries, Nigerians will still running across the road. Climbing the pedestrian bridge is a big stress for most of these set of people.
To prevent people, the government had to result to erecting wire fences under the bridge over a long stretch of road in order to force them to use the bridge. These fences are pulled down and destroyed at night or taken away by unknown persons in some cases. It is so sad that you find some law enforcement agents encouraging defaulters to commit the offence because they do the same thing.
The Corona virus pandemic that has held the world on a standstill has its own share of preventive measures. In Nigeria, about 85% of the citizens do not believe in its existence in the country. This is largely based on trust concerns on the government. The compulsory washing of hands and use of face masks is more of a formality affair. The face mask is only used not to prevent but to avoid arrest from police men or parting away with some cash through bribery. Many Nigerians see it as discomfort or stress rather preventive measures. Social distancing is not working as people still clog together throwing caution to the winds. It is only very few organizations such as banks that are enforcing the use of mask, washing of hands and social distancing.
Keeping safe is alien to the average Nigerian unless the punishment is something they can experience immediately. It is not only about the class or the educational level of Nigerians. A lot of the defaulters you will be surprised to know are those who are supposed to be educated or enlightened. The level of laxity with regards to preventive measures is on the high side.
It is in our DNA.