Coronavirus: Ogun, Abia, Taraba, Imo, Bayelsa shut borders over spread

Coronavirus: Ogun, Abia, Taraba, Imo, Bayelsa shut borders over spread

The Ogun, Taraba, Abia, Imo and Bayelsa state governments have shut their borders as the COVID-19 continue to ravage states across the country
The Ogun State government announced the closure of the borders with the neighbouring states and the international border with the Republic of Benin.

The government, which said this on Saturday, explained that the closure would take effect at 12 midnight on Sunday, March 29, 2020.

The government in a statement by Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Kunle Somorin, said the closure would be in force for two weeks in the first instance.”

Abia State Government also announced that there would be a total lockdown of the state from April 1, 2020.

According to the state government, the lockdown will include inter-state movements.

It added that “this will last for an initial period of four weeks, subject to weekly reviews.”

The state Commissioner for Information, John Kalu, in a statement on Saturday, urged everybody to stay indoors.

Also, Taraba State Governor, Mr Darius Ishaku, on Saturday banned travels in and out of the state with effect from Sunday, March 29, 2020.

In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Hassan Mijinyawa, the governor said the decision to close the state’s land borders was part of efforts to prevent coronavirus spread.
Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma has ordered a complete lockdown of the state with effect from Saturday as part of the government’s further measures to prevent the dreaded coronavirus from entering the state.

In a state-wide broadcast to the people on Saturday, Uzodimma ordered the closure of all markets indefinitely and prohibited all forms of marriages.

Bayelsa State Government has announced more measures to check the coronavirus pandemic, imposing a travel restriction from 7pm to 7am with effect from Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Federal Capital Territory enforcement team on Saturday disrupted a wedding reception at Police Quarters at Wuse Zone 6 in Abuja.

It was learnt that the enforcement team, acting on a tip-off, stormed the venue and “dispersed” the hosts and guests numbering about 300 for violating the ban on public gathering.

The bride and groom were just about arriving when the team got to the scene which was located at a residential neighbourhood.

The FCT Administration had announced the development via its Twitter handle.

“The FCT Enforcement Team which includes security & law enforcement agents has shut down a wedding ceremony happening at Wuse Zone 6.”

Speaking with one of our correspondents on the development, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Strategic Communications to the FCT Minister, Abubakar Sani, explained that no arrest was made.

In Cross River State, the Government has threatened to shut down any church that flouts the order not to open for service on Sunday if its congregation is more than five persons.

According to a statement by Fr Bob Etta, the Senior Special Adviser on Religious Matters to Governor Ben Ayade, a task force will be going round the state to monitor compliance.

While two Muslim clerics were on Saturday arrested for violating the curfew imposed by the Kaduna State Government to prevent the spread of Covid-19 popularly called coronavirus in the state.

The two clerics were caught while conducting Friday congregational prayers in Malali and Ungwan Kanawa areas, all in the Kaduna North Local Government Area of the state.

The Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, said this while addressing journalists on Saturday.

But hope rose in Rivers State as the State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has promised that the state government will consider palliatives in the next phase of intervention against the coronavirus pandemic.

Wike made this promise on Saturday in Port Harcourt when he led members of the state Task Force on Enforcement of the Ban on Public and Religious Gatherings to monitor compliance with the directive of the state government on the closure of markets in the state.

COVID-19 is not God’s judgment, but a call to live differently, pope says

COVID-19 is not God’s judgment, but a call to live differently, pope says

VATICAN CITY — The worldwide coronavirus pandemic is not God’s judgment on humanity, but God’s call on people to judge what is most important to them and resolve to act accordingly from now on, Pope Francis said.

Addressing God, the pope said that “it is not the time of your judgment, but of our judgment: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others.”

Pope Francis offered his meditation on the meaning of the COVID-19 pandemic and its implications for humanity March 27 before raising a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament and giving an extraordinary blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world).

Popes usually give their blessing “urbi et orbi” only immediately after their election and on Christmas and Easter.

Pope Francis opened the service — in a rain-drenched, empty St. Peter’s Square — praying that the “almighty and merciful God” would see how people are suffering and give them comfort. He asked to care for the sick and dying, for medical workers exhausted by caring for the sick and for political leaders who bear the burden of making decisions to protect their people.

The service included the reading of the Gospel of Mark’s account of Jesus calming the stormy sea.

“Let us invite Jesus into the boats of our lives,” the pope said. “Let us hand over our fears to him so that he can conquer them.”

Like the disciples on the stormy Sea of Galilee, he said, “we will experience that, with him on board, there will be no shipwreck, because this is God’s strength: turning to the good everything that happens to us, even the bad things.”

Pope Francis leads a prayer service in an empty St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican March 27, 2020. At the conclusion of the service the pope held the Eucharist as he gave an extraordinary blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world). The service was livestreamed in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. (CNS/Reuters/Guglielmo Mangiapane)

The Gospel passage began, “When evening had come,” and the pope said that with the pandemic and its sickness and death, and with the lockdowns and closures of schools and workplaces, it has felt like “for weeks now it has been evening.”

“Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void that stops everything as it passes by,” the pope said. “We feel it in the air, we notice it in people’s gestures; their glances give them away.

“We find ourselves afraid and lost,” he said. “Like the disciples in the Gospel we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm.”

However, the pandemic storm has made most people realize that “we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented,” the pope said. And it has shown how each person has a contribution to make, at least in comforting each other.

“On this boat are all of us,” he said.

The pandemic, the pope said, has exposed “our vulnerability and uncovers those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities.”

Pope Francis holds the monstrance as he gives his extraordinary blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) from the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican March 27, 2020. The blessing was livestreamed because of the coronavirus pandemic. (CNS/Reuters/Yara Nardi)

In the midst of the storm, Francis said, God is calling people to faith, which is not just believing God exists, but turning to him and trusting him.

As Lent and the pandemic go on, he said, God continues to call people to “convert” and “return to me with all your heart.”

It is a time to decide to live differently, live better, love more and care for others, he said, and every community is filled with people who can be role models — individuals, “who, even though fearful, have reacted by giving their lives.”

Francis said the Holy Spirit can use the pandemic to “redeem, value and demonstrate how our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people — often forgotten people — who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines,” but are serving others and making life possible during the pandemic.

The pope listed “doctors, nurses, supermarket employees, cleaners, caregivers, providers of transport, law and order forces, volunteers, priests, religious men and women and so very many others who have understood that no one reaches salvation by themselves.”

“How many people every day are exercising patience and offering hope, taking care to sow not panic but a shared responsibility,” he said. And “how many fathers, mothers, grandparents and teachers are showing our children, in small everyday gestures, how to face up to and navigate a crisis by adjusting their routines, lifting their gaze and fostering prayer.”

“How many are praying, offering and interceding for the good of all,” he said. “Prayer and quiet service: These are our victorious weapons.”

In the boat, when the disciples plead with Jesus to do something, Jesus responds, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?”

“Lord, your word this evening strikes us and regards us, all of us,” the pope said. “In this world that you love more than we do, we have gone ahead at breakneck speed, feeling powerful and able to do anything.

“Greedy for profit, we let ourselves get caught up in things and be lured away by haste. We did not stop at your reproach to us, we were not shaken awake by wars or injustice across the world, nor did we listen to the cry of the poor or of our ailing planet,” Pope Francis said.

“We carried on regardless, thinking we would stay healthy in a world that was sick,” he said. “Now that we are in a stormy sea, we implore you: ‘Wake up, Lord!'”

The Lord is calling on people to “put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be foundering,” the pope said.

“The Lord awakens so as to reawaken and revive our Easter faith,” he said. “We have an anchor: by his cross we have been saved. We have a rudder: by his cross we have been redeemed. We have a hope: by his cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love.”

Pope Francis told people watching around the world that he would “entrust all of you to the Lord, through the intercession of Mary, health of the people, and star of the stormy sea.”

“May God’s blessing come down upon you as a consoling embrace,” he said. “Lord, may you bless the world, give health to our bodies and comfort our hearts. You ask us not to be afraid. Yet our faith is weak, and we are fearful. But you, Lord, will not leave us at the mercy of the storm.”

Introducing the formal blessing, Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, announced that it would include a plenary indulgence “in the form established by the church” to everyone watching on television or internet or listening by radio.

An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment a person is due for sins that have been forgiven. Catholics following the pope’s blessing could receive the indulgence if they had “a spirit detached from sin,” promised to go to confession and receive the Eucharist as soon as possible and said a prayer for the pope’s intentions.

Vatican worker who lives in same residence as Pope Francis tests positive for coronavirus

Vatican worker who lives in same residence as Pope Francis tests positive for coronavirus

A Vatican worker who lives in the same residence as Pope Francis has been hospitalised after reportedly testing positive for coronavirus.

The clergyman, who has not been named, has lived in the Holy See’s Saint Martha’s guest house for years.

Pope Francis, 83, also uses the building as his residence, to take his meals and for private meetings. He has remained largely secluded since coming down with a cold at the end of last month.

Italy has remained at the epicentre of Europe’s virus outbreak and has recorded more deaths than China due to the disease.

The guest house is being disinfected by Vatican authorities.

The Pontiff, who is said to be in good health, live-streamed a mass at the Santa Marta church this morning.

As well as using the Saint Martha guest house, the pope also visits the Vatican Library to record messages for the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics.

The La Stampa and Il Messagro newspapers said the unnamed person has been hospitalised in Rome and steps have been taken to disinfect the building.

La Stampa additionally reported that Pope Francis has been ‘eating alone in his room for some time’ as a precaution.

‘He spends much of his time in his apartment, and when he moves inside the residence, he keeps the necessary safe distances,’ La Stampa wrote.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told AFP he could neither confirm nor deny the reports.

The official Vatican News website said the number of people infected in the city state has risen to four.

This includes one person who first tested positive on March 6.

‘The new cases include an employee of the merchandise office and two employees of the Vatican Museums,’ the official news site said.

The Argentine-born pontiff has enjoyed a life of good health despite losing part of a lung as a young man and suffered from sciatica – a nerve condition that causes pain in his hip.

The pope gave a video address on Tuesday where he urged Christians not to ‘complain about everything’ or indulge in ‘evil’ self-pity.

Francis said that sloth – marked by carelessness, apathy and self-pity – is a ‘poison, a fog that envelops the soul and doesn’t let it live’, before offering prayers for health workers and priests who have died helping those suffering from coronavirus.

Hours later the pope also ran a mass Lord’s Prayer through an online broadcast to help comfort people amid the outbreak.

The pope has been holding his general audiences and Sunday blessings over the internet and television from the official papal library instead of before crowds numbering tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.

Source: Daily Mail

Governor Ugwuanyi addresses Ndi Enugu on COVID-19 pandemic

Governor Ugwuanyi addresses Ndi Enugu on COVID-19 pandemic

*Shuts down all educational institutions in the state

*Directs all public officers/civil servants to work from their homes except health workers, Forest Guards, Neighbourhood Watch personnel, Water Corporation staff, Waste Management operatives, staff of Enugu State Emergency Management Agency, Fire Fighters and all those involved in other essential services.

*Suspends all cultural and social gatherings including marriage ceremonies, burial ceremonies, masquerade festivals, drinking bars, night clubs and all group sporting and recreational activities.

*Says that social distancing protocol as advised by Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) should be observed during public religious worship as well as in restaurants and eateries.

*Directs all Local Government Council Chairmen to mobilise their Environmental and Community Health Workers to sustain the ongoing public enlightenment on protocol for prevention of Coronavirus disease transmission in our markets and parks.

*States that all public transport operators in the state are to observe the following rules on passenger conveyance in each instance: (a) Keke – not more than two passengers (b) Commuter buses – not more that two passengers per seat (c) City Cab – not more than three passengers.

*Advises all public places to observe high level of hygiene by use of sanitizers and frequent hand washing as earlier advised by Enugu State Ministry of Health.

* Directs the law enforcement agencies in the state to enforce strict compliance with the above mentioned safety measures.

While noting that “this is a trying time in our world, nation and state”, Gov. Ugwuanyi disclosed that the state government in the past weeks has taken proactive safety measures to contain the Coronavirus disease pandemic, through the realease of N330 million for strengthening the Coronavirus disease pandemic; strengthening of the State Emergency Operations Centre led by the State Ministry of Health; establishment of a Multi-sectoral Rapid Response Team comprising representatives of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies including local and international partners such as Nigeria Center for Disease Control, World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

Full text of the address below…


My good people of Enugu State, good afternoon.

This is a trying time in our World, Nation and State. In the wake of the Corona Virus Disease pandemic, a lot has happened.

Nations in the world have taken stern steps to contain this ravaging public health challenge. Our Nation, Nigeria, is not an exception.

We salute the leadership and courage of Mr. President, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, and the National Presidential Task Force on Corona Virus Disease in dealing with this global emergency in Nigeria.

In Enugu State, consistent with our commitment to provision of healthcare and preservation of the sanctity of human life, we have in the past weeks taken proactive safety measures to contain the Corona Virus Disease pandemic.

These measures include the following:

Strengthening the State Emergency Operations Centre led by the State Ministry of Health.
The establishment of a Multi-sectoral Rapid Response Team comprising representatives of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies including local and international partners such as Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC), World Health Organization (WHO) , United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

The release of N330,000,000.00 (Three Hundred and Thirty Million Naira) only, for strengthening the Corona Virus Disease Preparedness and Response. Out of this sum, N150,000,000.00(one hundred and fifty million naira) only, is dedicated to purchase of additional Ambulances and Incident vehicles; Personal Protective Equipment; upgrade of State Infectious Diseases Isolation Centre; training of Health Workers; advocacy and public enlightenment. The sum of N80,000,000.00 (Eighty Million Naira) only, is for restocking of the State Drug Revolving Scheme while the remaining N100,000,000.00 (One Hundred Million Naira) only, is provisioned for unforeseen public health challenges.

In view of the escalating threat of the Corona Virus Disease pandemic, I, in consultation with the State Multi-sectoral Rapid Response Team, Security Agencies and other relevant stakeholders now order the following additional safety measures with immediate effect:

Closure of all educational institutions in the State.
All Public Officers/Civil Servants to work from home till further notice except the following:
Health Workers;
Forest Guards;
Neighborhood Watch Personnel;
Water Corporation staff;
Waste management operatives;
Staff of Enugu State Emergency Management Agency;
Fire fighters; and
All those involved in other essential services.
Suspension of all cultural and social gatherings including the following:
Marriage ceremonies;
Burial ceremonies;
Masquerade festivals;
Drinking bars;
Night Clubs; and
all group Sporting and Recreational activities.

The Social distancing protocol as advised by Nigerian Center for Disease Control should be observed during public religious worship as well as in Restaurants and Eateries.

All local Government Council Chairmen are hereby directed to mobilise their Environmental and Community Health Workers to sustain the ongoing public enlightenment on protocol for prevention of Corona Virus Disease transmission in our markets and Parks.

All public transport operators in the state are to observe the following rules on passenger conveyance in each instance:
Keke – not more than two (2) passengers.
Commuter Buses – not more than two (2) passengers per seat
City Cab – not more than 3 passengers.

7. All public places to observe high level of hygiene by use of sanitizers and frequent hand washing as earlier advised by Enugu State Ministry of Health.

8. The law enforcement Agencies in the State have been directed to enforce strict compliance with the above stated measures.

Residents are advised to make provisions for basic needs while we await further advice from the State Multi-sectoral Rapid Response Team. Government will continue to update our people as the need arises.

I commend the efforts of our Health Care Providers for their commitment and dedication to duty as well as resilience in this challenging time.

Ndi Enugu, while I regret the inconveniences that the above measures will inevitably occasion for our people, I enjoin everyone to make these necessary sacrifices to protect ourselves and the future of our world. It is my conviction that the abiding Grace of the most merciful God will see us through this time.
Enugu State is in the Hands of God, and in all we do, we give God due Glory, Honour and Adoration.

Thank you and God bless.

Rt. Hon. IfeanyiUgwuanyi
Governor, Enugu State

Nigeria reports 10 new coronavirus cases in Lagos, Abuja

Nigeria reports 10 new coronavirus cases in Lagos, Abuja

Nigeria now has 10 new cases of the novel coronavirus, the nation’s health minister confirmed on Saturday.

This brings the total number of cases in the country to 22.

“Nigeria has recorded 10 new cases of #COVID19 in Lagos and FCT,” the Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said in a tweet. “That is a total of 22 cases in Nigeria.”

According to the minister, Lagos has 16 cases, while the FCT has three cases.

Ogun state and Ekiti also have two and one cases respectively.

“Two have been discharged,” the Minister said. “All cases are clinically stable and receiving adequate care.”

All ten new cases are Nigerian nationals and nine of them have a travel history to Canada, France, Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom, the Minister said.

The 10th case is a close contact of a previously confirmed case.

The three cases in Abuja are being treated at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), Gwagwalada, while the seven new cases in Lagos are being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH), Yaba.

“All ten new cases have mild to moderate symptoms and are currently receiving treatment,” Dr Ehanire said.

The Minister said contact tracing is ongoing to identify all persons who have been in contact with the confirmed cases.

The Ministry of Health has also heightened screening of all air, land and sea points of entry into Nigeria, Dr Ehanire said.

The Minister reiterated, to the public, the importance of social distancing and other necessary precautions, such as frequent hand-washing.

Be a transformational leader – Archbishop Valerian Okeke

Be a transformational leader – Archbishop Valerian Okeke

The Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha and Metropolitan of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province has urged young graduands of Blessed Iwene Tansi Major Seminary, Onitsha to be transformational leaders as they go into the wider world.

The Archbishop who made this charge while delivering his keynote address during the 6th Convocation ceremony of the theological institution also exhorted the 2019 graduands of the Seminary that the vocation to the priesthood is a gift and a call to be a transformational leader.

He noted that transformational leader adds values and seeks for excellence. “Excellence is no match to branding and packaging. While branding and packaging limits itself to more of externals. Excellence seeks for the finest and highest quality of things,” he noted.

According to him, key ingredients of transformational leadership are knowledge and deep sense of service.

“When a leader stops knowing, he starts dying and become useless. A leader of an institution remains relevant,effective and efficient as long as that leader offers great values,” he also said.

The Convocation ceremony attracted people from all walks of life including the families and friends of graduands.
Present at the occasion were Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah (Bishop of Sokoto diocese,) Rev Professor Peter Damian Akpunonu, Professor Cyril Chukwudi Dim , (Professor of Obstetrics and gynaecology) the convocation paper presenter and host of other distinguished academic personnel from universities in and around the state.



Greetings from the Chancery. God bless you all.

You would recall that we issued a Special Circular on March 15, 2020, in which we gave further directives on the proactive ecclesiastical steps we needed to take as an Archdiocese to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We emphasized that these are critical times and as such critical measures needed to be taken. We also mentioned that we shall continue to monitor the situation in order to make adjustments as required.

The Corona Virus pandemic has continued to ravage the world and the number of people infected has increased at an alarming rate within one week in our country Nigeria. This has made the Government of Lagos State to put a limit on the number of people that can gather together in public at 50.
As a Church, we are concerned about Public health and welfare as well as the protection of our faith and practices at the same time. We have been rather appalled at the level of preparedness to confront the pandemic in our Public health facilities given the experiences related by some of those who have had the need to contact the facilities or have had to use them.

We worry that the areas that need to be addressed such as the land borders, (through which an infected person was reported to have already arrived in the country), are still largely unattended with regard to the coronavirus spread; the public transportation system and other public gatherings that could be sources of the spread of the virus are still very much unregulated. These make us fear that the measures we are to take with regards to public gathering to worship may be undermined by these other factors.
However, we have a responsibility to cooperate with government with regard to welfare of citizens while also taking cognizance of the sacredness of our faith and practices. For this reason, we are constrained to make some adjustments that would alter some aspects of our lives as a faith community.

Given our duty to help protect public health in cooperation with the State Government as well as protect the values of our faith, we hereby make the following pronouncements:
a. In line with the authority that devolves to the Local Ordinary at critical times such as this, we hereby pronounce that the elderly (65 years and above), pregnant women, nursing mothers and children below 18 years and those with serious health conditions who are more susceptible to infection by the virus are hereby relieved of their obligation to attend Mass even on Holy Days of Obligation and Sundays for the period of the next four weeks with immediate effect.

b. At this critical time, those among the faithful who consider that their health is jeopardized by attending Public gatherings, including Masses are also relieved of the obligation to attend Mass even on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation for the period of four weeks with immediate effect.

c. We actively encourage all the faithful to take advantage of following the Mass to be streamed live and on the Lumen Christi Television Network during the period of this emergency. We can make a Spiritual Communion at the appropriate time during the Mass. It is a part of our spiritual heritage that when circumstances such as the present one happens and we are not able to go to Mass, we can make a Spiritual Communion. Our faith teaches us that the Spiritual Communion is as effective as when we physically receive the sacred species, the Body and Blood of Christ. This is necessary so as to ensure that Sunday Masses are not crowded beyond the number

d. Celebration of Masses: Public Masses on Sundays would be with not more than 50 persons.

Parishes should consider making use of other available spaces within the Church premises such as Parish Halls to increase the number of Masses to be celebrated on Sundays.

Parishes should also use the Small Christian Communities as venues for Masses.

Parishes can also make use of projector screens to transmit Mass to other locations around the Church.

At this time, Saturday evening Mass in lieu of obligation for Sunday should be used more.

It is important to emphasize the need for maintaining the required social distance and spacing especially when attending Mass.

We shall review this present directive with regards to Public Mass in due course as we continue the process of discernment.

e. Other Sacraments:
At this time, Penitential Service with General Absolution is permitted,
taking care not to have more people than the recommended number and
with the appropriate social distance.

Visit of the sick for the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick should be done ONLY when ABSOLUTELY necessary and should be done with extreme caution even if it means using cotton wool for the anointing and wearing facial masks.

Funerals should be celebrated only if absolutely unavoidable and should be with no more than 50 people in attendance.

f. Meetings of Societies: Associations of the lay faithful can have their meetings as long as they are not more than 50 people in attendance.

g. Devotions: Parishioners are encouraged to have the Stations of the Cross as private devotions. Blessing of religious articles and persons must be without touching.

h. Holy Week Ceremonies:
Palm Sunday: Public procession with Palm fronds is suspended. The Rite
of blessing palms in the Church is to be used.

Chrism Mass: The Chrism Masses would be only for Priests and those
appointed. It would be celebrated observing the required Social distance in the big Churches that we use for the two Masses. Priests should make arrangements to collect the Sacred Oils from the Chancery at their convenience.

Mass of the Lord’s Supper: Parish Priests should choose those who will be in attendance from among the different groups and Associations in accordance with the size of their Church buildings. There should be no washing of feet.

Good Friday: Veneration of the Holy Cross on Good Friday should also be by choosing those to be in attendance according to the size of the Churches ensuring that the Social distance required is maintained. Adoration of the cross would be by simple genuflection.

Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday: Celebration should be limited to those previously chosen according to the same conditions as on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

Easter Monday: Parish Galilee Day Celebration is hereby suspended.

i. Live Streaming: Kindly note that efforts are being made that the activities of Holy Week would be streamed live from the Cathedral and would also be broadcast on Lumen Christi Television Network.

j. Churches: Our Churches remain open and are available for private prayers. We know that the importance of prayers cannot be overemphasized especially now. We need God’s intervention at this critical time more than ever before.

The checking of temperature is mandatory in all parishes.

Where possible running taps with soap should be provided around the church premises or at the very least hand sanitizers. He faithful should be encouraged to take their hand sanitizers with them all the time.

Parishes should enlist the help of medical and health workers to assist in creating awareness and sensitizing the faithful. We encourage our parishioners to avoid close contact with people who show symptoms of
the virus.

Parishioners who feel unwell are strongly encouraged to seek medical
Knowing full well that the salvation of souls is the supreme law, we enjoin priests to apply pastoral discretion in carrying out the above directives.

Finally, my dear brothers and sisters, we want everyone to understand that these are extreme circumstances with safety of life and public health at stake. We expect all Catholics to comply with these directives. We strongly encourage all our people to intensify their prayers, both as individuals or families that the Lord will deliver us from this evil and bring an end to this Pandemic, bring healing to those affected and repose to the souls of those who have died. Be glad in hope, constant in tribulation, persevering in prayer. (Romans 12:12).

Ab omni malo: Libera nos Domine!
+Alfred Adewale MARTINS Archbishop of Lagos
March 20, 2020

WAEC postpones 2020 WASSCE indefinitely

WAEC postpones 2020 WASSCE indefinitely

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has postponed the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for school candidates, 2020 indefinitely.

This was confirmed in a statement released by WAEC Nigeria’s Head of National Office, Mr. Patrick Ehidiamen Areghan.

The statement stated that the examination scheduled to begin April 6, 2020, was postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement reads in part: “The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) in Nigeria, nay, the West African sub-region, has decided to put on hold the conduct of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination

“This is as a result of the impact of the novel and deadly Corona Virus pandemic (COVID-19) and the serious implications it has for the conduct of the WASSCE for school candidates, 2020, coupled with the anxieties it has generated among the populace.

“This decision is a demonstration of the organisation’s concern and support for the various protocols being put in place by the Federal and State Governments of Nigeria and the governments of the other member countries to check the spread of the disease.

Areghan noted that the timetable for the examination had been suspended and would be “reviewed once the health situation improves.”

Nigeria restricts international flights to Lagos, Abuja

Nigeria restricts international flights to Lagos, Abuja

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has said all international flights into the country should be restricted to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, in a letter to airline operators, dated March 19, said the directive was as a result of the Federal Government’s travel ban on 13 countries.

Nuhu said the directive would take effect from 12am on Saturday, March 21.

According to him, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu and Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, would be closed to all international flights.

The DG also stated that all persons arriving in Nigeria who might have visited the countries affected by the travel ban 15 days prior to arrival, would be subjected to supervised self-quarantine and testing for 14 days.

He said, “The travel restriction is applicable to all flight crew from the affected countries.

“All operators wishing to operate into Nigeria are required to operate with two sets of flight crew; one set to operate into Nigeria and one set to operate out of Nigeria.”

Rivers, Ebonyi, Sokoto, Kano states shut down schools, restrict religious activities

Rivers, Ebonyi, Sokoto, Kano states shut down schools, restrict religious activities

Rivers and Ebonyi State governments have closed all schools and directed all religious organisations to restrict their activities as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic.

In a state-wide broadcast on Friday, Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike said that the action was taken in the interest of Rivers State.

The closure affects public and private primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.

He said: “Based on the above precautionary measures, the state can be described to be at an alert state.” He said to further strengthen the state’s resolve to protect its citizens, all schools in the state are to be closed down with effect from Monday, March 23, 2020, and directed all religious organisations to restrict their activities.

“As you are aware, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has described coronavirus as a global pandemic. This development calls for collective action by all well-meaning citizens.

“As a responsive government, even though we have not had a confirmed case of coronavirus, we did not rest on our oars as we set-up a five-man inter-ministerial committee to carry out an aggressive public enlightenment that will protect all those living and doing business in the state from the disease.

“This decision was taken because we understand that we are the headquarters of the hydrocarbon industry and also a major commercial hub in the country that attracts people from all walks of life.”

In the same vein, the Ebonyi state government has directed the immediate closure of all public and private schools across the 13 local government areas of the state. A statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Kenneth Ugbala, Ebonyi government also banned all religious gatherings attracting more than 50 persons.

The statement directed security agencies in the state to ensure that all schools within the state starting from nursery to tertiary levels were shut down before 12 noon on Friday 20th March, 2020.

Ugbala also directed the state Ministry of Health and the state committee on anti-corona virus to quickly deploy all health officers to all markets ,rice mills, quarry, banks and other service centres to carry out random tests on people.

“All the night clubs and other night activities are by this announcement closed down. Every gathering of more than 50 persons in our religious worship centers are hereby prohibited . All markets and religious centers must deploy a strategy of hand sanitizers and deploy other temperature checks at their entry and exit places.

“The state government shall meet with religious leaders in few days to discuss on the gathering of their worship centers. State shall also start on Monday the 23rd of March, to do stop and test to all people entering Ebonyi State as a way of safe guarding our people.

“The health workers are immediately directed by this announcement by Friday 20st March to move from house to house to use 150 infrared thermometer device to test all Ebonyians. Government of Ebonyi State has proactively built testing and quarantine centers at Unity square and the boarder between Enugu and Ebonyi and shall build more at all the exit and entery points of Ebonyi State as a way of ensuring that the health of every body entering or exiting Ebonyi State is ascertained’’, he said.

Meanwhile, the Sokoto State government has directed primary and secondary schools in the state, both public and private to shut down for a period of 30 days.

A statement by the Public Relations Officer, Sokoto State Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Mura Bello Maikwachi said the closure takes effect from Monday 23rd March, 2020.

The statement further said the measure was in line with the decision taken at the meeting of North West governors held in Kaduna, to check the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

He added that Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal gave the directive which was announced by the State Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Dr MB Abubakar Guiwa as part of efforts to forestall the threat being posed by coronavirus.

Also, Kano State government has instructed all state-owned tertiary institutions to comply with the Federal Government’s directives to close down schools for four weeks effect from 23rd March, 2020.

The Commissioner , Ministry of Higher Education, gave the directive in a press release signed by the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry, Sunusi Abdullahi KofarNaisa,

The Ministry said that the instruction has become necessary as part of precautionary measures to prevent the spread of corona virus ( Covid-19). The Ministry urged the people of the state to continue praying for protection.