The other day Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwoolu led members of his government to the usual briefing facemasked in coulourful Ankara prints, it was obvious that the government was out to make a new thing happen.
Face masks, as we all knew it, was an item for the needs of those in the medical line. You enter some banks bulk rooms, you see some attendants covering their noses with nose masks. That is because it is said that stacks of money notes carry all manners of unseen germs which could harm those who touch them.
But the spread of coronavirus is changing all that. Masks is becoming something everyone must have. It is part of the protocols being recommended to protect against contracting the disease.
For an item that was meant for the exclusive uses of some categories of personnel in recent past, it was not unexpected that the world would run out of these items.
Here comes the need to be creative. New initiatives are coming up. Governor Sanwoolu had said that his state would make wearing of masks mandatory. And with that comes the challenge of producing the masks as fast as possible and within the reach of residents in terms of cost.
Mrs. Ronke Okanlawon, founder of G-S Outfits Nigeria says it is for local designers to sit back and fashion out how best to fill that need in the shortest possible time.
"This is a new need. And we must not be waiting to look for supplies from foreign countries when we can design our our masks at home here." To her, Covid 19 indeed offers the Black man a new opportunity to rediscover himself in terms of critical needs.
"Over the decades, we had relied too much on foreign things. Even by now, I expect Nigeria to be funding serious research in local medicine that can take care of coronavirus."
Governor Sanwoolu had said two days ago at a briefing, "“Also, there have been questions about whether the State Government is planning to introduce a face mask wearing policy. Our simple answer is that it may be compulsory to wear one in public places from next week. We have already commissioned local production of face masks in large quantities in a way that will suit our environment and be pocket friendly.”
On Wednesday, the image of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River surfaced wearing a fashionable face mask marching his dress.
"That may be the new fashion statement. People wearing their face masks to align with their dresses," says Seke Signatures, a fashion out in Lagos.
Across the globe, it is now the common thing to find people go out without covering their noses and mouths.
The World Health Organisation had said that "Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water,"
On Thursday, the Government of Osun announced that wearing of masks would now be mandatory in public places.
As various governments make this mandatory, it can only be expected that fashion designers would have a small business on their hands even as the various countries are locked down.