Owambe The Covid-19 way, tips to stay safe


There is perhaps no dispute that Nigeria is one of the most socially vibrant countries in the world. That many Nigerians love partying is not a secret. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, anyone who drove through any town or city in the country would stumble on at least a social gathering including weddings.

At most weekends, social media was always awash with pictures of ‘owambe’ (a sobriquet used by many people to refer to a party). However, like other people all over the world, Nigeria has eased the lockdown and lifted the ban on social gatherings, but since the pandemic has yet to be over, it is important to keep to safety rules to prevent coronavirus spread at parties. Here are some tips;

Wear face mask, avoid hugs and handshakes

When you attend a party, public health expert Mrs Kike Adeniyi, suggested a safe greeting such as elbow bumps or hip bumps, instead of hugs and handshakes. “Also, while it might seem like an annoyance, wearing a cloth face covering can provide an extra layer to help prevent respiratory droplets from travelling in the air and onto other people,” she added.

Spend less time at a party

Ideally, no one should be organising parties that span several hours because of the peculiarity of these times. But should you attend a party where the organiser seems not to have regard for COVID-19 safety protocols issued by the government, don’t be shy to leave. A public health expert based in Abuja, Dr Luke Lawal, said, “Spending less time with others, especially in enclosed spaces, may reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Lawal also suggested the evaluation of the behaviour of the party attendees to determine when to leave.

Don’t touch surfaces unnecessarily

According to the NCDC and other bodies, these droplets can land on anyone nearby, which is why social distancing is so important. But they can also land on surfaces or be transferred there when someone who’s sick touches his face with his hand and then uses that hand to turn on a faucet, for example. “Simply touching a contaminated surface won’t give you COVID-19. But then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes can transfer the virus to those sensitive spots, allowing the virus to enter the body and cause infection.”

Don’t share items with other guests

Huling advised on placing disposable plates, cutlery, napkins, cups and straws on each table, so each guest has what they need, or put wrapped cutlery and straws at each place. An option is to prepare and pre-package everything, including the appetisers. Buy individual serving sizes, such as chip bags, so people can easily grab and go, and place extras on each table.


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