NIGERIA’S federal government has entered into a partnership with the Nigerian Interreligious Council (Nirec) and declared a season of fasting and prayers across the country in a desperate attempt to find a solution to the raging coronavirus pandemic.
Although Nigeria has been spared the worst of the Covid-19 virus, there have been a total of 27,110 cases in the country, with 616 fatalities. However, the numbers are still rising and with the government easing the lockdown, there are fears that the virus may spread further, leading to a surge in the number of affected people.
With no vaccine yet available, the Nigerian government is faced with a daunting scenario that could lead to the virus spreading out of control. What is particularly scary is the fact that the Nigerian population are refusing to adhere to health guidelines such as social distancing, wearing facemasks, using hand sanitizers and regular washing of hands with soap and water.
Feeling exasperated with the situation, the government has asked Nirec, a body led by the Sultan of Sokoto and the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (Can) to lead three days of fasting and prayers. Boss Mustapha, the secretary to the federal government and the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, said that prayer and fasting have become pertinent as Nigerians seek the face of God in order to end the pandemic.
Mr Mustapha said: “In furtherance of the synergy being built, the co-chairmen of the Nirec, His Eminence Alhaji Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and president of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and His Eminence Reverend Dr Samson Ayokunle, the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria would be directing Muslim and Christian adherents all over the country to go in for a period of fasting and prayer. Nirec will announce the details and we urge all Nigerians to participate in this effort to seek divine intervention.”
Nirec’s executive secretary, Reverend Father Cornelius Omonokhua, said: “Muslims will begin on Friday, July 3, 2020, while Christians will end the prayer on Sunday, July 5 at the National Christian Centre. These prayers will respect social distancing and Nirec calls on everybody to seek the face of God in fasting and prayers for God to put an end to the Covid -19 pandemic.”
“Since April 30, 2020, Nirec has been calling on all Christians and Muslims to take part in the national weekly prayer conducted online with zoom meeting every Thursday in collaboration with the Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation, the Nigeria Television Authority and UFUK Dialogue Foundation.”