The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Ita Enang, has urged all Christians to pray continuously for the country during and after Easter celebration while observing the unfortunate lockdown necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The presidential aide in his Easter message, regretted that whereas, typically, at Easter, Christians across the globe gather in churches to worship and celebrate the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, but not this Easter being in the middle of a lockdown.
He said although traditional church services were canceled in almost all the worship centers in country, this does not mean Easter is canceled and its message can still be lived out in all walks of life in acts of service, compassion and care.
“Nigeria, and indeed the entire Christians have a lot to learn from the life of Jesus Christ as we struggle to keep the rampaging COVID-19 at bay. Health personnel in the frontline of the battle against COVID-19 are extraordinary symbols of passionate love and sacrifice. They are risking their lives for our survival. Many have died but rather than deter other health personnel, they are moving forward with uncommon zeal. They deserve our total support and prayers.
“I urge us to emulate the exemplary humility, moderation, and the life our Lord Jesus Christ lived while He was on earth. He represents forgiveness and love. He deployed the “weapons” of patience, gentleness, and love to great effect. We must use the occasion of Easter to forge unity and peace in our communities. This is a time to rebuild our communities. Violence harms even the best of causes. Crisis harms communities and retards progress and development.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created an economic crisis in Nigeria. Governments at all levels are implementing tough measures to battle the invisible enemy. As painful as the measures may be, they are necessary for our survival. We must not despair. Rather, we should be at our creative and compassionate best. We must turn the strange situation into an opportunity to look inwards and develop our local capacities.
“We must reenergize our sense of community and collectively fashion strategies to survive these challenging times. We either assist each other to go through the rough times or we shall be counted among the casualties,” he pointed out.
While saluting the resilience of the people of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Enang cheered the spirit of AkwaIbomites and urged them to continue to support and comply with the measures put in place by the government to checkmate the COVID-19 spread.
“If we stick together and battle this pandemic as a collective, we shall overcome it and resume our normal lives again, to the glory of God,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has extended the lockdown in Ogun, Lagos and Federal Capital Territory by 14 more days. He said this in a nationwide broadcast on Monday.
He said, “With this in mind and having carefully considered the briefings and Report from the Presidential Task Force and the various options offered, it has become necessary to extend the current restriction of movement in Lagos and Ogun States as well as the FCT for another 14 days effective from 11:59 pm on Monday, 13th of April, 2020. I am therefore once again asking you all to work with Government in this fight.”
“This is not a joke. It is a matter of life and death. Mosques in Makkah and Madina have been closed. The Pope celebrated Mass on an empty St. Peter’s Square. The famous Notre Dame cathedral in Paris held Easter Mass with less than 10 people. India, Italy and France are in complete lockdown. Other countries are in the process of following suit. We cannot be lax.
“The previously issued guidelines on exempted services shall remain. This is a difficult decision to take, but I am convinced that this is the right decision. The evidence is clear. The repercussions of any premature end to the lockdown action are unimaginable. We must not lose the gains achieved thus far. We must not allow a rapid increase in community transmission. We must endure a little longer.”
President Buhari urged Nigerians to notify the relevant authorities if they or loved ones develop any symptoms. According to him, all health care professionals would redouble their efforts to identify all suspected cases, bring them into care and prevent transmission to others.
“Today, the cessation of movement, physical distancing measures and the prohibition of mass gatherings remain the most efficient and effective way of reducing the transmission of the coronavirus. By sustaining these measures, combined with extensive testing and contact tracing, we can take control and limit the spread of the disease,” he added.