*Decries reckless confidence
*We need God’s help to overcome pandemic, says Kaigama
As the dreaded Coronavirus disease also referred to as ‘COVID-19’ spreads across the country, the federal government on Sunday called on Christians and Muslims to resort to prayers.
The government also expressed displeasure over what was termed as “reckless confidence” of Christians who have continued to flout the guidelines put in place by the Presidential Task Force (PTF), to contain the virus.
Speaking during the grand finale of a joint three-day special fasting and prayer programme tagged ‘Nineveh,’ organised by the Nigerian Interreligious Council (NIREC), the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha urged Nigerians to take responsibility and strictly adhere to the non-pharmaceutical measures put in place to contain COVID-19, as there was no vaccine or cure in sight.
Stressing that the COVID-19 has come to stay, Mustapha said: “COVID-19 is real, as we sit in this hall there is COVID- 19 whether you want to believe it or not because 80 per cent of people infected are asymptomatic, they do not exhibit any symptoms.
“There is no vaccine and there is no cure in sight; the time frame given by scientists involved in research for vaccine likely to be on the table for people to acquire is between 18 months and two years.
“The only thing that you have for yourself for the good of yourself and for the good of your family and loved ones is to adhere to the non- pharmaceutical interventions that we have in place; they still remain the most effective fighting opportunity we have as a people to overcome this pandemic.
“These are the things we have been preaching, talking about and making personal appeals to people of our own dear country to adhere to.”
The SGF who urged Nigerians to adhere strictly to the guidelines said it was unfortunate that many Christians are exhibiting reckless confidence
“I see a lot of Christians exhibiting reckless confidence and the Bible describes them as fools in Prov 22:3 which says the wise see danger ahead and avoids it but fools keep going and get into trouble. Stay at home if you have no business leaving your home, that is the safest place you have.
“Honestly if not because this was a service not designed to stay at home I won’t come into this gathering; it is a matter of conscious decision on my part to make sure I protect myself, family, friends and loved ones.
“My admonition to the church is that we must take action and stop exhibition of
reckless confidence and tell our people the truth and ask them to do the proper things so that they can stay safe and stay safe for their families, their communities and for the body of Christ.
Earlier, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja diocese, Ignatius Kaigama expressed concern over the poor attitude of Christians towards consistent prayer and fellowship with God.
He said that the world needs God’s help to overcome the pandemic.
He stressed that social distancing as occasioned by the pandemic should not be an excuse to become distant from God or neglect the godly virtues of neighbourliness.
“As Cristians, 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, We must not run to God only when in the face of danger. God gives us 168 hours a week, 1440 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 engaged in social media activities.
“Prayer in our lives should be consistent, persevering and fervent. Pope Francis admonishes us. We are a people who believe that prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are as much a part of our response to the pandemic as those working on the frontlines trying to offer medical assistance or to find a vaccine or cure.
“We need God’s help. He is our refuge, our stronghold, our rock, our shield, our mighty help, our fortress and our saviour. Without daily connecting to Him in prayer we will either be too full of ourselves or too empty of energy, inflated or depressed. It is said that there are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless and prayer-less about their situations.”
“In the pain and challenges of COVID-19, let us learn these lessons: the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom; repent of our sins; love without boundaries and consider the interest of others above our personal interests.”
On his part, the Executive Secretary NIREC, Reverend Cornelius Omonokhua, noted that the interdenominational prayers aligned with the duty of NIREC to support the efforts of the Federal Government.