Clean wa­ter:

The Washington Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY YAGAZIE EMEZI AND DANIELLE PAQUETTE PHO­TOS BY YAGAZIE EMEZI IN LA­GOS, NIGE­RIA

Mil­lions of Nige­ri­ans risk ex­po­sure at public pumps.

The most ba­sic in­gre­di­ent for mankind’s sur­vival is also a crit­i­cal weapon against the novel coro­n­avirus. Wash your hands with soap and wa­ter for 30 sec­onds, sci­en­tists say. Drink eight glasses of wa­ter a day. Stay hy­drated and hy­gienic. ¶ But ac­cess to clean wa­ter is dra­mat­i­cally un­even across the world. About a third of Nige­ria’s pop­u­la­tion — 60 mil­lion peo­ple — must leave home to find it, ac­cord­ing to aid groups and gov­ern­ment statis­tics. ¶ In this pan­demic, ven­tur­ing out to the near­est pump has meant risk­ing ex­po­sure to the virus or a clash with po­lice. Of­fi­cers and sol­diers en­forc­ing lock­downs killed 18 Nige­ri­ans over a two-week pe­riod this spring, the coun­try’s in­de­pen­dent Na­tional Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion re­ported in April. ¶ As of Fri­day, 211 peo­ple had died of covid-19, the dis­ease caused by the novel coro­n­avirus, but doc­tors worry that the true num­ber could be much higher. Some ar­eas, such as Kano state, have recorded far more deaths than usual. ¶ Africa’s most pop­u­lous coun­try eased re­stric­tions ear­lier this month, al­low­ing cit­i­zens to go out­side with masks — a move to re­vive the sput­ter­ing econ­omy, the pres­i­dent said. Some vow to stay in­doors be­cause cases are spik­ing. (Nige­ria’s count this week sur­passed 7,000.) ¶ Oth­ers don’t have that choice.

The fol­low­ing in­ter­views have been con­densed and lightly edited for clar­ity.

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