Federal Government has warned church leaders, Christians and other Nigerians against reckless confidence as regards the efficacy of COVID-19 pandemic, insisting that the virus is real with devastating effect on the world.
The government referred those doubting the efficacy of the virus to devastating records of the pandemic across the world, including Africa, which has overwhelmed the world, including Nigeria, and also brought down the health care systems of develop countries known for efficient and sophisticated health care system.
Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, who spoke at the interdenominational church prayer service against COVID-19 held at the National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja, on Sunday, expressed discontent with the level of “recklessness” and disregard to COVID-19 prevention guidelines/protocols particularly at various worship centres.
The National spiritual exercise which was put together by the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) was to solicit the intervention of God on the affairs of Nigeria, with specific request for an end to the dreaded COVID-19 which has negatively affected life and living across the world.
The interdenominational prayer meeting was attended by church leaders and other Christian faithful from different denominations, as well as officials of the Federal Government led by the SGF.
With scary figures and pictorial illustrations, the SGF, who doubles as the Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, in his remarks, appealed to church leaders whom he said, command huge followership and loyalty, to encourage their followers to adhere to the non-pharmaceutical measures for prevention as no vaccine has been developed to tackle the pandemic.
He said: “Non-pharmaceutical measures remain the only way for now. Because no vaccine has been developed so far. Also, no specific has been known to be effective in the treatment of the disease.
“If not for some reasons, I wouldn’t have showed up for this event. Nevertheless, I make all effort to protect myself, my family, loved ones and even colleagues. Obviously, I am most exposed, hence the deliberate effort to double protect and defend myself at all times,” he said.
The Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, in his remarks urged Christians to hopeful, and be assured that God is working for the good of His people irrespective of the situation.
He said: “As Christians, even in tough and challenging times like this, we should know that God is in charge and in control and means well. His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts.
“Obviously, COVID-19 has altered global affairs and social existence that even alter a vaccine eventually neutralizes the virus, society will still feel its social consequences for decades. The COVID-19 pandemic is like other times in history of famines, wars and plagues; though none perhaps has so effectively brought the entire world to so nearly complete a standstill!.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of NIREC, Rev. Fr. Cornelius Omonokhua, in his welcome remarks, explained that the national prayer was also meant to mark the end of the three days of fasting and prayers against the dreaded coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria and beyond.
He explained: “I must correct the impression that CAN organized this event. It was organized by NIREC which comprises of CAN and Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).
“Our Muslim brothers concluded their own event last Friday with a Jummat prayer at the National Mosque which was aired live. Today (Sunday), we are hear to conclude ours with this prayer meeting. We know that God has heard our prayers and will act swiftly in our favour.”