COVID-19: South West Muslims demand adequate protection of health workers, others

April 2, 2020
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Muslims in the South West region, under the banner of Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN) have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, state governors and other stakeholders to provide adequate protection for health workers and other essential service providers involved in the Covid-19 battle.

MUSWEN made the appeal via a statement signed by its Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Professor Muslih Tayo Yahya, a copy of which was made available to DAILY POST in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital on Thursday.

Yahya, a retired Professor and former Director, Academic Planning and Administration at the University of Jos, Plateau State in the statement issued on behalf of Muslims in the region, declared that they were in support and working in tandem with all measures recommended by experts and relevant authorities and directives of the Government aimed at curtailing the spread of Coronavirus.

He noted that the current situation in the country should be seen as an opportunity to be closer to God by spending our isolation and stay-at-home times in engaging in spiritual activities.

While advising government to punish any violator of the quarantine or stay-at-home order, Yahya insisted that government must provide palliative measures to cushion the attendant economic hardships as a result of citizens staying off their works and means of livelihood.

He suggested that governments must also provide adequate protection for healthcare and other service providers while on their duties of saving lives.

He said, “MUSWEN has taken steps along the line of social distancing by terminating or postponing parts of its scheduled important activities and suspending decision or further action on others while monitoring the situation. The Secretariat Staff have been compelled to work from home in observance of the stay-at-home measures . A MUSWENs Health NGO, Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria Health Care Givers Society had, weeks ago released a statement, (copy attached), a leaflet on Covid-19 educating the populace about, and giving admonition on, the prevention of the deadly virus.

“In spite of the several measures taken by the authorities, the virus continues to spread unabated. As at date the total number of cases worldwide has risen well above 960,000 with almost 50,000 Covid -19 related deaths. Nigeria has recorded about 174 cases with 119 out of this coming from the South Western States. The Muslim Ummah all over the world is particularly hard-hit by the social distancing measures necessitated by the pandemic because congregation is a very important and highly rewarding aspect of the Islamic worship. Consequently, it is creating serious division within the Ummah. Understandably, some believers do not want to accept that anything, whatsoever, should hinder congregational prayers especially on Friday, the Eid days and the Tawaf, Say and other pilgrimage related congregations.

“Unfortunately, the reality of the situation created by the presence of Coronavirus and its mode and rate of spreading in most parts of the world is such that the “sacrifice” of having to suspend large assemblies for now is, in most cases, inevitable. Such suspension would fall squarely within the clear injunction of Allah in Surah al-Baqarah: …and make not your own hands contribute to your destruction… (Quran, 2:195) as well as highly popular guidelines given by the Prophet (SAW) for handling of epidemics or pandemic situations. Therefore, it is essential that the issue of suspending large congregational prayers is not allowed to, in any way cause any division within the Ummah. The Unity of the Ummah is always more important than any trivial points of differences of opinion, for Allah warns against consequences of disunity of the Ummah in, among others Surah al-Anfal, (Quran 8:46).

“However, Al-hamdulillah, there is good news: the pandemic, CoronaVirus is, after all, not totally uncontrollable as some countries including China where it all began, are beginning to get out of the worst situations in which they had been. They are successfully curtailing the spread and they are sustaining the improved situation. But there is also bad news: Nigeria is NOT yet close enough to such an improving situation.

“This means there is still much more that need to be done both by the Government and the populace.
The spread of the virus can only be through human to human transmission. Therefore curtailing its spread can only be by avoiding close contacts with individuals who have it. We salute the citizens who diligently obeyed the authorities directives which include the maintenance of the rules of hygiene, social distancing and staying indoors. Others are further implored to comply with the directives though difficult in the face of economic hardship. The truth remains that the more strictly we adhere to the preventive measures the faster we go on the path of curtailing the spread and subsequently eradicating the virus and getting back to our normal healthy patterns of social, spiritual and economic life

“This current situation should be seen as an opportunity to be closer to our God by spending our isolation and stay-at-home times in engaging in spiritual activities like tilawatul Quran, adhkar, supplications, fasting, etc especially in this holy month of Shaban.

“The Governments are implored to provide palliative measures to cushion the attendant economic hardships as a result of citizens staying off their works and means of livelihood. Only then may the Governments be well advised to adequately punish any violation of “quarantine” or stay-at-home rules.

“The Governments must also provide adequate protection for HealthCare and other service providers while on their duties of saving lives. We pray to Almighty Allah to save the world from the deadly virus that threatens our existence”.

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