by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
The federal government has been commended for prompt response in making much needed funds available to combating the scourge of COVID-19 and for making the difficult decisions (that had to be made) about the hard-hit states of Lagos, Ogun and the FCT.
The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, His Grace Most Rev Dr Ignatius A. Kaigama, made this assertion in his message on the Divine Mercy celebration recently to Catholic faithful in the country.
He called on all Nigerians to cooperate with government by embracing necessary behavioural changes, and urged the leaders to do more to increase the health ministry’s capacity to test and diagnose all persons, who are in need of such tests, “most especially the vast majority living in the periphery of our cities and also people in Viejo, who are far removed from media attention.”
He urged that, no citizen, who needs medical assistance with regard to this disease, should feel by-passed or neglected, regardless of his or her standing in the society.
“Similarly, as stringent measures are being put in place to contain the spread of this deadly disease, our leaders must remember to always give every decision and its implementation a human face,” he stated.
“Our people must be patiently helped to survive the shock that comes with this sudden seemingly unfavorable adjustments. Collectively, as a nation, we must not give in to despair,” he urged.
The Archbishop observing also that, “We have together overcome bigger challenges in the past. This one will not be any different, provided we stand and work together against this our common enemy, who does not discriminate between the poor and the rich, the low and the mighty.
“In this season of much bad news, it is normal to be too aware of what we cannot do; but let us not lose sight of what God can do.”
Archbishop Kaigama retorted thus: “He restores my soul. He didn’t reform; He restores, He doesn’t camouflage the old; He restores the new. The master-builder will restore all things – the vigour, the energy and, above all, the hope.”
He prayed that God should intervene and save us, “and we must do our part to help brothers and sisters in need on account of the lockdown, because many are trapped in their communities without the basic necessities of life, especially food, water and electricity.
Kaigama equally urged government to “ensure that funds provided by donors and from our collective patrimony to alleviate the suffering of our people are prompt, effectively and honestly applied without the usual diversion or misappropriation that has come to characterize the behavior of some officials during these times of national tragedy.”
Archbishop Kaigama urged them to help get to the least person at the grassroots, and appealed that, “we should do something positive and concrete for those affected in one way or the other because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“We must practice ‘religion of heart,’ not religion of the head or a mere outward show or as an intellectual exercise of repeating doctrinal phrases that sometimes trigger fundamentalism and inter-religious violence,” he noted.
In the spirit of Easter celebration (though locked-down), Kaigama stressed that, “The resurrection is a very strong reminder for us that, we must submit totally and unconstitutionally and honestly to God. The practice of religion as an outward act of piety is not enough.
“In our world today, we threaten fire and brimstone at the slightest provocation; we seem unable to live without playing the drums of war, just to demonstrate that one nation or group is more powerful economically than the other.
“It is a world of ‘survival of the fittest.’ We can even go further by wanting to be where God is, either to push him to give way or to think we can advise him; we find fault with his creatures and creation,” Kaigama stated.
In the same vein and, in order to sooth the pains of the COVID- 19 pandemic, plateau state government has put in place a palliative committee to ensure that the people are provided with the essential commodities. The committee is to be chaired by Deputy Governor, Prof. Sonni Tyoden.
The committee is expected to source for donations/contributions from organizations and individuals towards providing palliatives to the vulnerable and most needy citizens of the state during the COVID-19.
It is also expected to manage such donations and contributions, both material and money, on behalf of the State Task Force on COVID 19, and also to keep appropriate records for such contributions and to create awareness on the receipt and disbursement of the funds.