Celebrities in Nigeria are now ‘speaking out’ through comedy to support the global #COVID19 response.
Nigerian comedian Maryam Apaokagi has a sure-fire way of getting people tolisten to her coronavirus health advice through her skits.
The 21-year-old has joined a line-up of the nation’s top performers working health tips into their routines to spread the word about COVID-19.
In one of her online videos, she plays the role on an all-knowing, all-controlling Nigerian mother who watches in horror as a young man sneezes into his hands. Within seconds she grabs a bottle of sanitiser from the bosom of her dress, slathers it over her palms, then hits him hard in the face.
“Ah, a sanitised slap,” her companion gasps in mock horror, as the young man learns his lesson the hard way.
Apaokagi, who goes by the stage name Taaooma, said she decided to put out the video to try and reach people who would usually ignore or dismiss advice from the usual official sources – people like her own mother.
“The main reason why I did the coronavirus skit was because of my mom, because you cannot tell her not to go and worship,” she told Reuters.
Authorities have put out regular advice on avoiding large gatherings and the importance of washing hands – but trust in the government is low and conspiracies and bogus health tips spread fast on social media.
Parents “are the ones that are … the most difficult people to tell not to do things
“So when they watch it and laugh, they will also remember the message that they said we should not go to the mosques and church for now”,” said Apaokagi.