By Luminous Jannamike
Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja, Most Revd. Ignatius Kaigama, on Sunday, urged the Federal Government to prevent the corrupt use of resources in efforts to curb the raging Coronavirus, COVID-19, epidemic, saying the time for calculated response is now.
Recall that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, had said Nigeria needs N1.6billion emergency spending to fight.
While the Federal Government has released N984m and the Aliko Dangote Foundation, ADF has donated additional N200m to the COVID-19 response, analysts are questioning how exactly the monies were being spent.
However, a statement personally signed by the Archbishop in Abuja said Nigeria must be on red alert and the Government must avoid dilly-dallying on measures taken to ensure the ‘medical tsunami’ posed by the virus is stopped.
The statement reads, “The sudden outbreak of the Coronavirus epidemic can be likened to a raging fire with a very vicious and destructive force or a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
“Statistics from different parts of the world presently show that the epidemic is spreading and will continue to spread! We must be on the red alert.
“There is a saying in Africa that ‘when your brother’s beard catches fire, douse your own with some water to avoid having a similar misfortune’.
“The virus does not discriminate between the poor and the rich, inhabitants of theme north or south; the first world or third world’; black or white, etc. It is a world concern which calls for a common world action.
“We must take appropriate proactive and concrete precautionary measures to stop the virus. While personal hygiene is imperative, governments must not wait until thousands of people are infected or many lives lost before they engage in a panic reaction.
“The time for a calculated response to the spreading and increasing attack by the Coronavirus is now. Our authorities should create structures, deploy personnel and resources promptly and effectively.
“This is no time for dilly-dallying or the corrupt use of resources in an attempt to curb the menace. There must be an honest and consistent effort and a unity of purpose to fight and defeat the Coronavirus invasion with the same zeal and determination as the Ebola virus was defeated.”
Kaigama, who is also the President, Reunion of the Episcopal Conferences of West Africa (RECOWA), assured that the Church would continue to pray that the virus does not spread beyond what it is now and that soon, a correct therapy will be found.
“Precautionary measures but not panic measures) must be taken. By the grace of God, this too, like other viral infections will pass away,” he said.