From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The Northern Christian Elders Forum (NOCEF) has urged Christians in states where there is lockdown to celebrate in their homes, while also adhering strictly to the guidelines against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was contained in a statement signed by Chairman of the Forum, Engr. Ejoga Inalegwu and made available to media in Kaduna yesterday.
The statement also advised Christians to not jeopardize their safety and the safety of their families and communities by disregarding these rules.
Engr. Ejoga Inalegwu added that face mask can be created at home if they don’t have one.
“Ensure that hand sanitizers are used frequently and avoid shaking of hands and large crowd.
“For decades, the health sector has been neglected because our leaders and their family members travelled abroad for medical treatment.
“ Therefore very little attention was paid to the nation’s healthcare system.
“It is our sincere prayers that our leaders will learn some hard lessons from this calamity, which is not a respecter of person, to invest heavily in the health sector, when we come out of this pandemic.
“ We will celebrate the victory won for us on the Cross, where He died for the sinner and His resurection that assured us of victory over death,sin and satan.
“ Easter calls for a sober reflection on the sacrifices made by Jesus Christ. This is indeed a time for deep reflection because this Easter came at a time the world is facing a calamity, brought about by the deadly Coronavirus pandemic that is ravaging the world.
“ This is the time that we must turn to God in fervent prayers as the world battles for solutions to this pandemic that is threatening the entire human race.
“ We need to seek the face of God in prayers even as governments and scientists across the world search for the remedy to it.
“Christians must continue to play their role in the ongoing efforts to stop the spread of the disease by complying with all the rules on social distancing.
Coronavirus has upset our economy, our social system and the way we interact has change. We must embrace this changes to prevent the spread of the disease as we pray.
“Nevertheless, in spite of the predicament facing us, Christians must continue to love and care for our neighbours, as well as make sacrifices that will change our communities and country.
We must observe social distancing rules and personal hygiene as prescribed by our health practitioners and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“ Let us pray for our health workers and governments across the world as they work relentlessly towards combatting the disease.
“ We are aware that some states under lockdown have provided a window of opportunity for Christians to mark Easter.
“Where State Governments have offered windows for the celebration, we commend their courage and urge our brethren to still abide responsibly and strictly by the guidelines of social distancing, handwashing, sanitizing and mouth/nose covering during the celebration, so that we donot put our lives on line.
“ NOSCEF has reached out with a token of bags of rice worth N3.4 million for distribution to very needy brethren in 17 states in the North, where NOSCEF has structures, to celebrate Easter.
While wishing Nigerians a happy Easter celebration, we continue to appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to take advantage of the pressure under which Boko Haram is now, and facilitate the release of Leah Sharibu and the remaining Chibok girls still in their custody.
We wish all Nigerians a happy Easter celebration. “ the statement reads.