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“LABELS AS INSTRUMENTS OF WAR”: A POST-COVID-19 CONSIDERATION!

 

It is a given that “misery unites people.” This dictum illustrates the fact when people are in difficulty, they could easily unite to lick their wounds. The current Covid-19 pandemic has literally forged the bonds of unity among people across the world. Temporarily, people seem to have forgotten their differences. For example, with the view to ending the pandemic in Nigeria and all over the world, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Samson Ayokunle, called for a national day of prayer in a statement released on March 19, 2020. In like manner, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) responded to the pandemic in kind through a statement issued on March 19, 2020, which “encouraged imams, preachers and organizations to communicate about the importance of taking precautionary steps such as frequent hand-washing with soap, limiting physical contact by giving salutations instead of shaking hands and hugging, observing proper hygiene when coughing or sneezing” to curb infections and facilities.

With huge donations from the likes of Aliko Dangote and Femi Odetola, the narrative is even more interesting. The recent donation of 425 health facilities as isolation centres by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) to the Federal Government is one gospel too many. Importantly too, captions such as, “‘Day of Prayer’ sees humanity united in the fight against Covid-19” – Vatican News and “Pope joins inter-religious prayer, begging God to end pandemic” – Crux News, underscore the importance of Pope Francis’ invitation to the 14 May, 2020 global prayer for unity to combat the current health crisis. We must understand that humanity does well without labels, prejudice and passing of premature judgements.

While the battle for survival amidst this pandemic lasts, it is critical to project how life in Nigeria would be after COVID-19. The national synergy we are now enjoying would likely last forever? It is evident that those who are in the same isolation centres are from different religious backgrounds yet no one resisted being on isolation or quarantine on the grounds of religious persuasion. If Coronavirus can force Muslims and Christians to cohabitate in the same medical facility and also mourn those who have died without asking which faith they belong to, then we have to develop a new template for our national life if we want to enjoy a prosperous Post-Covid-19 Nigeria.

 


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