By Chinwendu Obienyi
Catholic Archbishop of Lagos Archdiocese, Rev. Alfred Martins, has advised the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 (PTF) to ensure people observe the basic COVID-19 non-pharmaceutical protocols rather than contemplating another lockdown.
Martins, who gave the charge during his New Year message with the theme: ‘Be courageous, don’t enter the new year with fear’ argued that lockdowns have always created more problems for the society.
He said the church had a huge role to play in the fight against COVID-19, especially in educating people on how to halt its spread.
“I will suggest that the church should follow the COVID-19 protocols that have been laid down by government, it might be uncomfortable but it is a small price to pay for safety of oneself and others. I hope there will not be another lockdown.”
Martins also expressed concern over the dipping economy and rising insecurity, ranging from kidnappings, ritual killings, armed robbery, rape, recession, poverty, unemployment and the collapse of some industries.
“Government needs to urgently address security issues by putting in place appropriate measures and policies that would mitigate the projected renewed economic challenges that may come with the new year. There is need for more pragmatic approaches in tackling the health challenges occasioned by the new strain of the COVID-19 virus in order to guard against another round of total economic lockdown in view of the colossal losses it would cost the entire nation.
“We thank the good Lord for making it possible for us to see the beginning of r 2021. We pray that the souls of our brothers and sisters who died in 2020 rest in peace. In this new year, my admonition to Nigerians is to be bold and courageous and not to allow fear to rob them of the joy of seeing a new year. I understand so many predictions have been going around in the social media that the year 2021 will be a tough year. But I urge you to be strong and not afraid.”
He added: “Let us start each day with prayerful optimism and go about our responsibilities with utmost caution and in strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols. However, as we pray with hope for divine intervention, we must also be prepared to work hard and be more productive in order to make the New Year a good and fruitful one. Each one of us is required to make necessary sacrifices and meaningful contributions towards the growth of our nation.Certainly, government has a crucial role to play by diligently attending to its constitutional responsibilities without playing unnecessary politics with issues that affect the daily lives of the masses,” he said.