It was a solemn gathering in New York as the Consulate-General of Nigeria at the weekend held a remembrance ceremony to honour the memory of Nigerians who died from COVID-19 within its jurisdiction.
The event drew Nigerians from all walks of life, including UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, other Nigerian envoys, community leaders, families, friends and associates of the victims.
Some Nigerians, who converged on Nigeria House venue of the event and those who joined by virtual all thanked the consulate for the initiative.
They also encouraged Nigerians who had not been vaccinated to do so and to raise their voices to encourage others to be vaccinated to prevent the spread of the virus.
UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, in her keynote address, urged people to raise their voices against COVID-19, noting that vaccine is the surest way to be protected.
Mohammed said that the remembrance ceremony was in line with tradition and culture of honouring the memories of the departed.
She said it was surprising that high fatality of COVID-19 had been recorded in some part of the world, more than in Nigeria and some parts of Africa.
“For us, it not about the virus itself, although, it took so many lives; it is also about the social economic impact; even those who have lost loved ones are also suffering from the social economy impact.
“We are grateful to God that those fatality – even I will say, one life lost is one too many but – it is not as bad as we expected.
“You remember there was projection from voices in the world that fatality in Africa will be more but we thank God, it is not so.
“We must commend our government and local leaders who really stepped up to protect as many as they could from the virus; although we lost so many,’’ she said.
Similarly, Amb. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, thanked the consulate for honouring the memory of the deceased, saying it is a long tradition in Nigeria to remember the departed loved ones. Muhammad-Bande said it was also a sense of community that necessitated the gathering to condole with the families and friends of the COVID-19 victims.