LESSONS from the momentous holy month of Ramadan must guide and guard us as we navigate a tumultuous future. Ramadan is a month in which Muslims abstain from sinful acts, do good deeds like charity, devote more time to prayer and striving to improve their self-discipline. It is a month in which every Muslim is cautious of his act in order not to engage in anything that will render his fast invalid. Charity and abstinence from unholy behaviour are well pronounced in Ramadan.
It is from this perspective of the need to act with sensibilities as a community that we wholeheartedly support the measures announced during the week by the Federal Government aimed at preventing the spread of deadly strains of COVID-19 into the country. This reflects concerns about the strains of the virus in India, South Africa, Turkey and Brazil. Unfortunately it has been confirmed that the Indian strain is already here.
From the daily horror news reports from in particular India and Brazil, even the most ardent COVID-19 deniers must now show circumspection and allow for proven scientific evidence. A hard pressed country cannot afford diversions and sideshows at this moment.
Faithfully adhering to the governments guidelines is not just about public health, it is interwoven with strengthening the economy. The government’s own economic advisory team unambiguously stated a few days ago that, “Nigeria’s economy is still fragile despite exiting recession”. This is stating the obvious. The fragile recovery has certainly not been jobs creation led. Furthermore, unpalatable decisions will soon have to be made with regard to pricing affecting consumers in the fuel and electricity sectors.
The country will not be able to adjust to the new realities if the government is forced to impose a national lockdown. Already, there are warning signals. The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha has raised an alarm that foreign passengers are escaping from our facilities during the required quarantine period. This cannot possibly be done without insider connivance by unpatriotic elements in our public services. The government must go out of its way to ensure deterrence by making an example out of someone.
Sacrifices have to be made and as stakeholders, we must all be involved. Ramadan has left with us a lot of lessons, including love and compassion for other fellow, the less-privileged and vulnerable in the society, endurance and perseverance, increased devotion to God and piety. We should not allow all these lessons to slip off, but rather, we should hold-on to them.