By Bello Musa

The Nigerian Interfaith Action Association (NIFAA) has partnered Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to create awareness on safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The partnership with the religious bodies was to ensure continuous awareness creation among worshippers on  COVID-19 safety protocols in worship centres and religious gatherings.

The Programme Manager of NIFAA, Dr Fatima Fanna-Mairami, on advocacy visit to the CAN and JNI secretariats on Monday in Kaduna, said the partnership was to reiterate World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidelines on COVID-19.

She said the United State Centre for Disease Control had tagged the initiative as ‘The message of hope’, which is being implemented through Caritas Nigeria and supported by NIFAA.

“The important message of hope is to reiterate to the community the importance of the guidelines set by the government and WHO for COVID-19”.

She said, “it is telling people that COVID-19 which had devastated many areas of the economy and lifestyle could be overcome.

“COVID-19 may have put a distance among us, but we still connect, love and hope the best for each other; this message is good for the community to reinforce the guidelines and talk about the union that connects each of us together.”

Also, Mrs Ijeoma Effanga of Caritas Nigeria, said the essence of the partnership with religious bodies was also to break the belief by many people that COVID-19 is a death sentence.

“We urge the religious leaders to disseminate the message of hope on COVID-19 to their followers.

“Whenever they stand on the pulpit, they should assure their followers that we can defeat it and nobody should be afraid, but should abide by the set guidelines.

“If we can abide by the guidelines, COVID-19 can be defeated and we shouldn’t think it is something foreign because it is not, it is not a death sentence but it is killing people, if we obey the guidelines, we can defeat it”, Effanga stressed.

Responding, the CAN Chairman in Kaduna State, Rev. John Hayab, restated their commitment in creating awareness on the COVID-19 protocols.

“We will continue to advocate the use of face masks in religious gatherings and other necessary guidelines in worship centres, we shall overcome all our adversaries”, Hayab said.

Also, the Secretary General of JNI, Dr Khalid Aliyu, said they would continue to ensure adherence to COVID-19 guidelines at worship places and in communities at large.

Represented by Malam Abubakar Gafai, he said cleanliness as emphasised in the Holy Books if abided by all, would mitigate the chances of contracting COVID-19.

“Regular washing of the hands, covering our nose with bent elbows while sneezing and many other guidelines on overcoming contagious diseases and spreading it to others are enshrined in our Holy Books and we will continue to preach it”, Aliyu said.

NAN reports that the JNI and CAN were presented with prayer and sermon guides by NIFAA and Caritas Nigeria. (NAN)