From Seye Ojo, Ibadan, Lukman Olabiyi and George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
In line with the Federal Government’s directive, more states have banned crossover vigils.
In Ondo, the Inter-ministerial Committee on COVID-19 Chairman and Vice Chancellor, University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, Adesegun Fatusi, said the decision is aimed at strengthening public safety and to prevent spread of the virus.
He said government’s decision to ban vigil in churches was not in any way aimed at any religion.
Fatusi, who spoke at a meeting between government officials and religious leaders as well as stakeholders in Akure, said it was part of the committee’s strategies to strengthen the fight against COVID-19 and better educate leaders on the need to play exemplary roles in fighting the virus.
He appealed to the Church to remain an agent of change and observed the need for every stakeholder, including church leaders to key into the fight against COVID-19.
Earlier Ondo State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ayo Oladapo, appealed to government to permit churches to celebrate the crossover vigil.
He said churches had been educating the people on the preventive measures against the pandemic.
Ogun bans crossover services in churches, mosques
Similarly, Ogun Government, yesterday, announced the ban on crossover services in worship centres across the state.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Waheed Odusile, said the decision was taken after a meeting with Christian and Islamic clerics.
The government implored worshipers to observe the stay-at-home order while they make use of virtual services in observing the crossover service.
However, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has directed that religious centres be allowed to hold crossover services only in strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
Technical Team of the Task Force on COVID-19 had earlier said it was ruling out the crossover services in view of the curfew imposed by the Federal Government.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Taiwo Adisa, however, warned that worship centres must adhere strictly to the advisories and guidelines put in place to prevent spread of the virus.
The statement further indicated that the governor gave the directives in a brief endorsed by the Chairman of the Technical Team of the COVID-19 Task Force, Temitope Alonge, which reviewed the earlier pronouncement of the technical team and lifted the curfew.
The statement added that other advisories earlier released by the task force, including the directive of 50 percent occupancy for worship and event centres, ban of street carnivals and others, remain in effect.
This is as churches in Kogi State were assured of government’s readiness to ensure any church that wished to observe crossover could do so without hindrance.
Christian Association of Nigeria Chairman, John Ibenu, gave the assurance in Lokoja against widespread news that the federal and some state governments have banned churches from conducting services to mark the end-of-year due to outbreak of second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.
Kogi CAN chairman said: “I have spoken with the government today, we shall observe our crossover services in our various churches today into January 1.
“Let us keep the nation and Kogi State in prayers and trust no plague will come near our state and I wish you all a glorious extraordinary breakthrough 2021,” he said.
Governor Yahaya Bello has consistently maintained that the COVID-19 pandemic, even though it exists, had been exaggerated for political and economic purposes.
churches to observe protocols
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has urged churches in the territory to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 protocols as they prepare for the crossover night service.
Head, Media and Public Enlightenment of FCT COVID-19 Task Force, Ikaro Attah, who gave the advice at a news conference in Abuja, urged church leaders to obey the government’s directives to avert the spread of COVID-19.
According to him, combined team of the task force will be going round to monitor compliance during the service.
Attah stressed the need for worshippers to support the decision of the government that would promote the progress and development of the territory.
“As enforcement team, that takes directive from FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello, and the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command, we are working in collaboration with leaders of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), at all levels and league of Imams.
“We have discussed with religious leaders on the need to obey the COVID-19 protocols, so all those who will be engaging in crossover night worship service must adhere strictly to the guidelines.
“They should put on their face mask, provide washing hand basin as well as keep physical distancing,” he said.
Attah, who said worship centres should not be overcrowded, asked worshippers to join the programme through online platforms.
campaign to religious, traditional
National Orientation Agency (NOA) has began sensitising religious and traditional rulers on the need to strictly adhere to guidelines and protocols in continuation if its state-wide engagement of stakeholders in the fight against COVID-19.
NOA Director, Lawal Haruna, said in Kano that the agency is educating the community leaders, opinion moulders, organisations, women and youth leaders on the dangers of a second wave of infections.
The director also said the agency has assigned officials of the war against indiscipline to take the campaign to market places and social gatherings.
Haruna urged stakeholders to adhere strictly to all preventive measures, including the maintenance of physical distancing, regular washing and or sanitise their hands, wearing of face masks.
Lagos offers free test for people
living with disabilities
Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has disclosed COVID-19 test for people living with disabilities will soon become free of charge.
Sanwo-Olu made this known during an interactive session with people living with disabilities, at a programme tagged: “A Day with Mr. Governor,” at the State House Annex, Marina.
Besides, the governor while pledging better welfare package for the people, also revealed that the state government has earmarked N500 million as disability fund.
The event was attended by representative of various groups of people living with disabilities in the state, they all aired their grievances and also asked for better welfare, education and free healthcare.
In his response, the governor said: “You have spoken your mind, you have corrected us as government, where you think we have not done well, you have commended where you think we have done so very well, you have also admonished us, you have encouraged us, you have said to us all of the things you believe we can do very quickly that can make life a lot better for you.
“Listening to you have enriched us, have giving us better understanding of where we need to improve our relationship and all of the access you have with us.”
FG cautions against self-medication
The Federal Government has advised Nigerians against self medication for COVID-19, saying it could lead to body organs damage.
Director of Hospital Services, Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Adebimpe Adebiyi, gave the advice in Abuja, yesterday.
Articles about various home remedies and ways to prevent COVID-19 have been circulating on social and conventional media since the onset of coronavirus pandemic.
Theories such as gargling hot saltwater, drinking lots of water and taking various vitamins and antibiotics, are a few that are believed to cure the disease.
Adebiyi said while there might be some ‘rationale’ behind these theories, they could however, pose serious dangers to the body and cause health complications.
“Be careful what you read on social media and send to your friends and loved ones, there are all sorts of inaccurate information out there.
“The best thing we can do is maintain our good health habits, eat healthy diets and do lots of exercises when we can.
“Practice social distancing, maintain top hand hygiene and stay home, unless you need to go out for essential activities,” she said.
The director noted that one of the most dangerous prevention methods circulating on social media was the abuse of hydroxychloroquine, believed to be a cure for COVID-19.
According to Adebiyi, taking certain drugs without medical prescription and supervision can result in body toxicity and consequently lead to sedation, coma, seizures, heart complications and other conditions.
“Do not take any drugs outside of a physician’s recommendation. At this moment, the best we can do to stay alive is to take medications that have been hypothesised as helpful.
“People with underlying conditions can safely take drugs when prescribed, but we need a better understanding of the risks and benefits of taking medication to treat COVID-19,” she said.
She noted that while the fear of catching COVID-19 was making Nigerians doubly cautious about their health and the need to safeguard same by all means, some had been relying on traditional home remedies and other detox drinks to stay healthy.
The director said prevention remained the best cure, adding that “prevention, and cutting down on your risk of exposure, along with proper disinfection habits are really the best way to fight and negate the risks of COVID-19.
“Proper sleep, a good nutrient-rich diet and exercise, are three of the best natural infection fighters, and work better than any supplement. Listen to your body before overdosing on medicines and supplements.
“If you think you might be deficient in any of the vitamins, worried about your diet or have pre-existing medical conditions, a consultation with a medical expert would do you a lot of good. Always follow your doctor’s advice before googling your medical conditions on the internet.”
Iheanacho, tasks FG on vaccination
A former minister of Interior, Emmanuel Iheanacho, has tasked the Federal Government to cut down cost of governance and unnecessary expenditures to enable speedy procurement of COVID-19 vaccines to lives of Nigerians amid the ravaging second wave of the pandemic.
The former governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance in 2015 and a business mogul said, yesterday, during a chat with journalists at his country home, Emekuku in Owerri North council of Imo state.
He said government owes it as a primary responsibility to the citizenry to do everything within its disposal to protect their lives in the face of the ravaging pandemic.
“Considering the second wave of the COVID-19 which is ravaging the World, it is my candid opinion that the government should do everything, including cutting down cost of governance, saving from expenditures that may be considered unnecessary to ensure enough vaccines are procured and on time towards protecting the lives of Nigerians.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is real and of course an enemy of human life,” he said.