Residents of Enugu State have hailed the decision of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to uphold the directive suspending religious gatherings in the state.
The encomiums are coming just as it emerged the Katsina State governor, Alhaji Bello Masari, had announced a partial lockdown after the NCDC announced the presence of three COVID-19 cases in the state. Governor Masari had earlier lifted the suspension on religious services across the state, prompting the conclusion that the relaxation was responsible for the outbreak.
Some governors – including those of Rivers, Ebonyi, Imo, Kogi – apparently succumbing to pressure from religious leaders, had similarly relaxed the social-distancing directive that precluded the holding of congregational worship at churches and mosques in their states.
But a community leader in Uwani, Enugu metropolis, who gave his name as Chief Ugochukwu Nwoye, said Governor Ugwuanyi had demonstrated “a major hallmark of leadership” by refusing to “play to the gallery”. According to him, “in choosing to stick to his conviction and keeping the people safe even if it meant displeasing an influential section of our society, the governor has written his name in gold”.
Another resident, Michael Anazia, spoke in similar vein. “I’m an indigene of Delta State and I have no reservations saying that Gov. Ugwuanyi’s firmness is commendable. You can see that Anambra State has just recorded an index case,” said the middle-aged resident of Abakpa-Nike.
For Mrs. Clementina Nwora, who owns a hairdressing salon, the sustained disinfection of markets and other public places across the state is an indication that the governor is “leaving no stone unturned” in his effort to safeguard public health. “Although non-essential shops including mine have been shut, I’m convinced the decision was taken in the best interest of everyone.”
She noted that as a devout Catholic, she would like to be in church for Easter service, but added that it was best to follow the mass on television than risk contracting the coronavirus in church, given the large crowd. “We have to endure. It’s a sacrifice we have to make to stay safe and I praise the governor for insisting on suspension of congregational service. Kudos to him,” she said.