The National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Ondo State has tasked religious leaders to do more in sensitising the people to the need to adhere to the safety protocols to avoid Covid-19 infection.
Dr Marius Adeniyi, the Medical Director, Primary Health Care, Okitipupa Local Government Area (LGA), gave this advice on Wednesday in Okitipupa during a public lecture.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the lecture was: “Strengthening the Capacity of Religious Leaders on Community Engagement Skills in COVID-19 Prevention”.
The lecture was organised by NOA and supported by UNICEF, Akure Field Office.
Adeniyi said that the increasing rate of COVID-19 in the country was because many people still did not believe that the pandemic was real and deadly.
He said that the consequent disregard of the safety protocols of regular hand washing, use of face masks, keeping social distance and avoiding crowded areas was responsible for the spike in figure of positive cases.
“Religious leaders have an important role to play by creating more awareness and campaigning against the deadly disease across their churches and mosques.
“They need to also preach the use of face masks, regular washing of hands, use of alcohol based sanitisers, maintain public distancing and other preventive measures.
“If we all adhere strictly to COVID-19 protocols, it will help us to fight the disease and for all of us to be free from the scourge,” the doctor said.
Also speaking at the occasion, Mr Akinranye Akintade, the Assistant Director of Programmes, NOA, said that the government was trying it’s best in creating more awareness through series of enlightment programmes to ensure COVID-19 was defeated.
He also said that residents need to imbibe a culture of maintaining a clean environment and follow all government preventive measures to avoid contracting the disease.
“We choose religious leaders as another way to create awareness because we believe that residents obey the instructions of their religious leaders better.
“By preaching COVID-19 to the congregations, many will believe it is real and this will help them adhere strictly to all it’s protocols,” Akintade said.
Also speaking , Pastor Peter Akinyelure, the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Okitipupa Chapter, said the information would be delivered to their congregation.
Alhaji Amudamiyu Omiata, Chief Imam, Ile-Oluji who also spoke, praised government efforts and urged it to create more awareness and enforce the use of face masks.
NAN reports that the programme was attended by religious leaders selected from the six LGA’s of: Okitipupa, Irele, Odigbo, Ilaje Ese-Odo and Ile-Oluji-Oke-Igbo of the southern district of the state. (NAN)