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By Mark Emeka Oguh

The Archbishop of Lagos, the Most Reverend Dr. Alfred Adewale Marthin while delivering his Homily during the Divine Mercy Sunday mass celebration at the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos on Sunday called on the Federal and state governments as well as all agencies involved in the distribution of COVID 19 palliatives to accept the honest feedback from the people to whom these measures are targeted.

The Archbishop believes that such feedback will help the authorities to review the models being adopted to ensure that the palliatives are not used for political party patronage or converted to private property.

Continuing in the loaded homily the Shepard of the Lagos Metropolitan See recommended a revision of the lockdown strategy to ensure that “we do not act like one who after discovering a rat in his house stopped everything else to search for the rat, instead of setting a trap for the rat and going about his normal business.”

While not calling for a discontinuation of the lockdown, His Grace advocated for everyone’s commitment to the WHO-approved rules of conduct in containing the virus so that we do not have any reason for a third extension of the lockdown as the tension in the land was becoming alarming.

He stated that because many Nigerians feed on daily income we cannot afford to lockdown for too long.

Unfortunately, fundamental and powerful as Most Rev. Adewale Marthin’s message was, it is not likely to receive the required media attention despite the fact that the mass was aired on terrestrial TV network.

The call for a revision of the distribution of COVID 19 palliatives is a clarion call. It is very easy for government to dismiss authentic feedback from the people as “fake news” but that does not change the truth.

We have been seeing several evidence of the ridicule of a nation in what we call palliatives being distributed to communities.

That makes one believe that the people being charged with the distribution may not have been truthful with the resources at their disposals.

Complaints from the people are branded “fake news”. This is why His grace has pleaded with those charged with governance over the distribution to listen to the voice of the people.

Government must also demonstrate absolute commitment to following the WHO approved rules of conduct for the curtailment and management of the Corona Virus.

These rules are not meant for the poor only. It is a shame that beyond releasing the body of the late CoS to the President to his family, his burial was conducted in a manner that contravened all known precautions against the spread of COVID.

After the burial we are now back to “contact tracing” of all the people that those who attended the burial inappropriately have had contact with thereafter. Couldn’t this not have been avoided by just complying with the WHO directive?

This pandemic has demonstrated that it is not a respecter of positions, race or religion. Our Government officials must get more serious with complying with the rules so that we can together kick this virus out of our land.

I must also voice out my concern about the widely publicized assertion by the DG of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, that there is no how COVID will not reach all the states in Nigeria. While on a visit to the Gov of Imo State, the DG stated that he was surprised that the state did not have a case yet.

Why should the DG be so pessimistic instead of encouraging the people to do whatever they could to ensure they kept the virus out of the state. Why not ensure that more people are tested by expanding the nation’s testing capacity instead of spreading unauthenticated fears? Let us all know that mathematical models are only as correct as the assumptions underlying them.

As at today Nigeria already has 542 cases. Out of this 19 have died and 166 recovered. We are therefore heading for 1,000 cases at which point the panic level will be at feverish pitch. Why is the DG pushing the panic button upfront. I don’t understand what his mission is.

May God’s grace and mercy abound

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