In every situation, there are losers and gainers. While Nigerians are reeling in the fear of Ebola Virus Disease, the makers of various brands of hand sanitisers are smiling to the bank as the prices of the product have soared astronomically.
The prices of between 15 to 20 ml of sanitisers, which had sold for between N150 to N200 have gone up sometimes more than double to between N300 to N500.
In Silver Brothers Pharmacy, one of the biggest drug shop in the Ijesha area of Surulere, the shop attendants acknowledged the steep rise in the demand for the product, which the shop now sells for N300.
“It is not even the price, the main issue is that they are now scarce unless. Unless you go to big pharmacy shops you may not find them easily,’ a middle-aged woman who gave her name simply as Mary told our correspondent.
Many shops and business offices visited by our correspondent in Surulere area of Lagos have a bowl of water with disinfectant place in their front office for visitors and customers to wash their hands before entry.
But a young seen buying a hand sanitizer in Divine Care Pharmacy Aguda, explained why the prices of the sanitisers have gone up.
According to him, while various types of disinfectant are effective, the hand sanitisers are more handy with more friendly scent.
Villa has also caught the hand sanitisers bug. It all started on Monday with massive deployment of bottles of hand wash in all the toilets inside the seat of power.
Reports in PUNCH on Thursday indicated that the hand sanitizing bug has bit even the country’s seat of power, the Aso Rock.
According to the report, one cannot access the “inner chamber” of the Villa without using hand sanitisers.
It does not matter whether you have yours in your bag or pocket. There are at least four security points at which operatives will administer the sanitiser on you before you proceed further.
In this respect, the administration of the substance is not status barred.
The paer further reported that all ministers who attended the last Federal Executive Council meeting also passed through the process.
State governors and deputy governors as well as their commissioners for health that met with Jonathan on the same day still on the virus also passed through the same process. They received their share of the substance at about three points, the last being the last security post at the entrance of the Council Chambers venue of the weekly meeting.
Whoever proceeds further from that spot to the President’s office must also be ready to take another dosage before meeting the number one citizen. At the Vice President’s Wing of the Villa, the security post at which visitors drop their telephone handsets before climbing the stairs to the VP’s office is the last spot where sanitisers will be administered. To ensure generous use of the substance, automatic hand sanitisers were also brought to the Villa on Wednesday afternoon. The consignment arrived at a time the President’s meeting with the state governors got underway. He therefore took out time to lead by example by sanitising his hands in the full glare of participants. Vice President Namadi Sambo also took his turn.
Looking round the venue, Jonathan then made this announcement, “Governor of Lagos, come and sanitise your hands. Governor Jang should come too.” When Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State told the President that he had already sanitised his hands before entering the venue, the President insisted that he must come and repeat the process. I do not know whether that directive had to do with the fact that Lagos is the epicentre of the virus for now.
Immediately after the two governors sanitised their hands, Jonathan declared, “Yes, I can now shake you” and shook hands with them before they returned to their seats.
Despite this generous use of the substance however, many workers and visitors (ministers, state governors inclusive) in the Villa are still avoiding handshake like a plaque all in their move to avoid the spread of the deadly virus.
Apparently in response to concerns raised in this column last week about the fear among workers over the presence of bats and monkeys in the Villa, the Chief Physician to the President, Dr. Fortune Fiberesima, had to issue a circular intimating personnel on precautionary measures to be taken to avoid the virus despite the huge presence of the animals.