President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his advice to Nigerians on avoiding the coronavirus.
He said “the best and most efficient way to avoid getting infected is through regular hygiene and sanitary practices as well as social distancing.”
Buhari stated this in his Easter message on Friday.
The Easter celebration, which symbolises the suffering of Jesus Christ on the cross, in Christianity, is now blighted by the coronavirus pandemic which has affected most countries in the world to close down and caused about 100,000 deaths.
Major states in Nigeria are already on lockdown as the federal and state governments strive to curb the spread of the virus which has caused ten deaths in the country and infected at least 318 people.
As Nigerian Christians join their counterparts globally to celebrate the annual festivities holding between Friday and Monday, Buhari urged Nigerians to emulate Jesus Christ by imbibing the spirit of sacrifice and perseverance to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Jesus Christ represented man’s ability to withstand temporary pains in the hope of everlasting glory.
“I urge you to imbibe and live the values of humility, discipline, perseverance, sacrifice and obedience which Jesus Christ demonstrated during His stay on earth,” he said.
He said there is no better opportunity than now for all Christians in particular, and Nigerians in general, to remain faithful and hopeful that, with intensified prayers backed by personal and collective responsibility, the nation would pull through the trying time.
“I am very much aware of the personal and collective inconveniences suffered by our people due to measures such as restriction of movements and closure of business premises. Being “a matter of life and death,” these sacrifices are in everybody’s interest to save our country from calamity,” Buhari said.
Similarly, a former vice president, Mr. Atiku Abubakar, enjoined Christians and all Nigerians to keep the hope alive as the current public health crisis “is reminiscent of the tribulations, trial and suffering of Jesus Christ when he set out to fulfil his mandate of saving mankind.
In his Easter message, signed by his spokesperson, Atiku said as Jesus triumphed over the machinations of his enemies; the end of the pandemic is near.
He, therefore, called on the faithful to share “love and continue to lend a helping hand to the less fortunate despite present difficulties.”
“Christians, and indeed Nigerians in general should remember to always be their brother’s and sister’s keeper in spite of the lockdowns, self-isolation and concern with individual safety and try to lend support to the next-door neighbour who might be in need,” he said.
Also, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, in his personally signed message, urged Nigerians to “strictly observe the public health protocols of social distancing, regular washing of hands and the rules of hygiene in our homes as we mark the joyous occasion.”
Lawan further enjoined the faithful to be fervent in their prayer for “divine intervention to vanquish the pandemic, heal the sick and renew the world and Nigeria.”
On his part, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, said this year’s festivity called for sober reflection amid the novel coronavirus pandemic ravaging most parts of the world.
While expressing his heartfelt condolences to families of those who have lost their loved ones to the disease, Mr Omo-Agege called on Nigerians to make sacrifices and renew their commitment towards God and building a better society.
He said: “Much unlike before, this Good Friday as well as our Easter celebration this year calls for sober reflection in our individual journeys and collective efforts towards God’s total redemption, healing and love.”
Like others, he also called on the citizens to strictly obey set out guidelines issued by the Nigerian authorities to stop the spread of the pandemic.
For former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, praying and taking responsibility by staying safe is important to live through the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
“I also enjoin all Nigerians to take responsibility at this critical time, adhering religiously to the precautionary measures, protocol, and guidelines released by the various strata of government and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control in order to prevent community spread of the virus,” he said.