Considering the grave danger posed by COVID-19 pandemic, the world over, and in particular, Nigeria, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), today 8 April 2020, paid a solidarity visit with the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF), who is also the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force committee put in place by the Government to combat the spread of the dreaded Corona Virus. The CBCN delegation, which was led by Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, the Archbishop of Abuja, acknowledged the excellent efforts of the Government in curtailing COVID-19.
He then read the message of the President of CBCN in which the CBCN, in solidarity with the people of Nigeria and the Government, granted the Presidential Task Force committee full access to 435 Catholic hospitals and clinics in Nigeria. He further presented the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria’s national Health Secretary, Dr Emmanuel Okechukwu, a veteran public health specialist, should they need his services at their committee level and as the liaison person to the Catholic Health facilities in the country. Copies of a booklet cataloguing the addresses of the health facilities were submitted to the SGF.
The Archbishop informed the SGF that the Catholic Church has the structures, track record, and the reach in terms of public mobilisation and the expression of solidarity with those under the burden occasioned by COVID-19.
The SGF thanked the CBCN immensely for the show of solidarity, and importantly, for making available about 400 health facilities to contribute to the efforts being put in place to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. He further urged the Church to help in disseminating the message of personal hygiene and compliance with Government directives. He assured the CBCN that his committee would discuss the meaningful solidarity expressed by the CBCN and incorporate the offer in its programmes.
Reported by Fr. Zachariah Samjumi
Secretary General, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria