A psychology lecturer in the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Iboro Ottu, has urged the Nigerian parents to provide leadership for their family as the nation continues to battle the novel coronavirus.
Confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Nigeria have so far risen to 46 by Wednesday morning.
Mr Ottu, who heads the psychology department of the university, told PREMIUM TIMES, Tuesday afternoon, that Nigeria is in a social dilemma which could bring out the best or the worst in the people.
“I read a book by Ernest Hemingway that says, ‘The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places’.”
He said the situation, though traumatic, requires Nigerians to be supportive of one another.
“We must find ways to help reduce anxiety among people and one of the ways of doing this is to look out for trusted sources of information,” he said.
“We must try to ensure that people are immune to rumour and try to convince people to drop their prejudice – some people are yet to believe the virus is real.
“We need to lift people out of their poor understanding of the coronavirus. For those who lack it, others have to be there to give them social, psychological support, and physical help where necessary. Parents must show leadership in the family. We need resilience, patience, encouragement, and cooperation,” the lecturer said.
Mr Ottu advised Nigerians to obey the government directives and stay at home with their families.
During the lockdown, families should ensure they have enough water and food supply without necessarily resorting to panic-buying, he said.
“When the economy comes to a standstill people would become poorer than they were, there would be food shortages that would lead to hunger, which would naturally cause people to be angry and depressed.
“Sometimes it may not only be the virus that would kill people but the discomfort, especially the isolation that is associated with it.”
‘Learn new skills’
The lecturer said one of the things families could do during lockdown is to learn new skills, try out some indoor games and sports, or engage in farming.
People, he said, can still use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to engage with friends and family members.
Families, he also said, can concentrate on building their spiritual life, especially now that there is a directive against open church service.
“If any of the parents is a teacher, there is a lot of work is to be done. Now that schools have been hurriedly closed, there are lots of work to be done. The parents can engage in teaching the children, while the older kids also help in teaching the younger ones.”