Today, April 12,2020, Christians celebrated Easter all over the world, marking this year’s Easter celebration despite the coronavirus pandemic, Christians in Nigeria were not left out.
Clerics in the country have applauded efforts made by the Federal Government to contain the coronavirus disease spread.
While they caution critics to guard against politicizing the pandemic, they urge the Federal Government to take steps to help Nigerians get over the pandemic.
To the believers, they admonished them to use the occasion to renew their faith in God’s love so as to surmount their earthly challenges, including the dreaded disease.
The Catholic Archbishop Emeritus of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, who underscored the efforts of the Federal Government in his Easter message, said the Catholic Church has since partnered it in efforts aimed at bringing relief to as many people as possible, by offering its social resources, including health institutions and schools for use.
While urging Christians to renew their faith in God’s love, he further charged them to avoid panic or despair, as well as avoid listening to prophets of doom, especially now, adding that they must not forget lessons that God might have taught them in these extra-ordinary weeks.
Also in his Easter message, Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence, Dr. Samuel Uche, appreciated the government at the federal and state levels for striving to contain the pandemic situation.
While urging them to do more, he warned critics to avoid politicizing the pandemic, which recognizes no political affiliations, religion and status.
“So, governments should work diligently and assiduously to ensure that the whole thing is eradicated.
People should continue to maintain social distancing, as well as observe personal hygiene. If coronavirus doesn’t see a way of spreading, it will stop automatically.”
The President, Christian Council of Nigeria, and Vice President of the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in West Africa, Most Rev. Dr. Benebo Fubara-Manuel, advised the government to be focused and not be distracted by any wicked scheming at this time.
Rev. Fubara-Manuel, who said that loss of focus at this time could amount to a loss of lives, wants the government to step up public enlightenment and disentangle the reality of the virus from non established theories and prophetic claims.
He added: “The present crisis has significantly reshaped the understanding of what it means for God’s people to do “church” here and now.
It has allowed for the technological aspect of worship to have greater prominence.
I have, myself, sent all worship of the church on weekdays and on Sundays electronically to members of my church.
But this means that the kind of worship we are adopting is automatic, excluding the poor and the non-technological from worship.”
Also commending civil authorities at various levels for efforts so far made, especially on coronavirus, is the Bishop, Oyo Catholic Diocese, Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, who in his Easter message urged the government to tackle other problems in the country the way they are tackling virus.
He said the government cannot enforce lock down the same way it is done in America or Europe because many Nigerians are hungry and should be helped.
He said: “People are hungry and understandably angry. Hungry people might not care about virus or bacteria, because hunger kills faster.
Easter is the feast of God’s love and mercy and we should be more caring and loving.”
Meanwhile, since churches and mosques are closer to the people at the grassroots than the government, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) wants the Federal Government to involve it, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and Nigeria’s Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) in the discharging of relief materials to avoid discrimination.
Speaking to newsmen, the President of CAN, His Eminence, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, said doing so would ensure equal distribution of relief materials to the people.
He also commended the Federal and state governments for being proactive in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that all the enlightenment’s session, including daily media briefings by front line managers, would go a long way in containing the spread of the pandemic.
Other clerics in their different denominations also applauded the government in their efforts to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the country.