The Archbishop, Province of the Niger, Anglican Communion, and Bishop of Awka diocese, Most Reverend Alexander Chibuzor Ibezim, has expressed fears over the easing of the COVID-19 lockdown in the country.
Ibezim who spoke to DAILY POST, said the easing of the lockdown may lead to abuse of safety rules across markets and most rural communities in Nigeria, thereby defeating the gains made in the war against the dreaded Coronavirus.
The Archbishop appealed to government at all levels to partner with religious bodies; churches and mosques, to embark on an aggressive sensitization campaign to mobilize the people to adhere to the safety and precautionary measures set by NCDC.
He said: “All the rural markets I have observed were not adhering to social distancing and other precautionary rules stipulated to mitigate further spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is only God that has saved mankind from the ravaging grips of the Coronavirus pandemic because nations with advanced hi-tech medical equipment and economy were reduced to nothing, then one will wonder what the pandemic would have done to nations without strong health system and economy.”
The Bishop advised Government at all levels not to neglect the roles religious leaders play in mobilizing citizens because the religious body are closer to the people, thus the need to partner the religious bodies for effective communication with their congregation at all levels.
He alleged that the government was being misled to neglect the churches and mosques in fighting COVID-19, adding that the church remains a veritable tool for educating the masses on the safety measures of COVID-19 as they know the people better.
“Much of the measures taken by the masses to fight the virus were mostly from religious leaders who have taken time to educate their members. Many of the information available in the media were not at the disposal of the rural people and most market men and women.”
He encouraged government at all levels to partner the church and see it as an integral part of the war against COVID-19.