SECRETARY to the federal government and chairman of the presidential task force (PTF) on Covid-19 Boss Mustapha led Nigerian Christians in prayer yesterday at the end of a three-day fasting and prayer period launched to rid the country of the virus.
Although Nigeria has been spared the worst of the Covid-19 virus, 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. As a result, last week, the federal government entered into a partnership with the Nigerian Inter-religious Council (Nirec) and declared a season of fasting and prayers across the country.
as part of the programme, 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. Nigerian Muslims kicked off the prayer session on Friday, July 3, 2020, while Christians ended it on Sunday, July 5 at the National Christian Centre.
Mr Mustapha personally attended the Christian service in Abuja that had the theme O Lord, heal our land of Covid-19 Pandemic. At the service, he called on the leaders of the church to always teach their congregation the truth about the pandemic and how they can stay safe for their families and communities.
“If you have no business going out, stay at home. It is scriptural and I will underline this with a quotation for Proverbs 14:16 where the bible says the wise are cautious and avoid danger, while fools plonk ahead with reckless confidence.
“I see a lot of Christians exhibiting reckless confidence and the bible describes them as fools. Stay at home if you don’t have business going out, that is the safest place you have, if you have every genuine reason to go out, as mandatory, wear a face mask.
“There is no vaccine and no cure insight. For the scientists that are involved in the research, the time frame they have given for vaccine to be on the table for people to acquire is between 18 months and two years, so Covid-19 has come to stay with us and the only thing you have is to adhere to guidelines and protocols,” Mr Mustapha added.
Most Reverend Ignatius Kaigama, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, added: “As Christians, even in tough and challenging times we should know that God is in charge and than our thoughts. In the wake of disasters or grave danger, the tendency is to pray feverishly but as soon as it passes, we return to ground zero of prayer.
“Obviously, this is a classic case of panic spirituality and we must not run to God only when in the face of danger. God gives us 168 hours a week, 1,440 minutes a day, how much time do we spend in conversation with Him? Yet we spend far more time watching television, speaking to friends on the phone or engage in social media activities.”
He added that social distancing does not mean distance from God or to come to Him only when there is fire on the mountain. Reverend Cornelius Omonokhua, Nirec’s executive secretary, noted that the interdenominational prayers aligned with the body’s duty to support the efforts of the federal government.
Joseph Daramola, Can’s general secretary of urged the PTF to review and increase the timing of worship, adding that the one hour that was given is not enough. He admonished Christians to adhere to government protocols on Covid-19 and always pray no matter the situation for God to continue to intervene and put an end to the pandemic.