A low-key service has been held in Abuja to install the new Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Archbishop Henry Ndukuba. Many of the events planned to mark the retirement of outgoing Archbishop Nicholas Okoh and welcome the new archbishop were suspended or postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking to journalists after the service last Wednesday (25 March), Archbishop Henry commended the federal and state governments for the work they had done to contain the virus; and he urged President Muhammadu Buhari to do more to establish test and isolation centres across the country.
Archbishop Henry also urged members of the public to following government directives designed to limit the spread of the disease.
“We need to be patient”, he said. “There is something that is very clear which we must note. This pandemic is for a time. It will pass away. But while it persists, we need to be prayerful, look up to God and be careful about our hygiene as well as do the things that are necessary.
“Follow the guidance of our leadership. We pray that God in His mercy will deliver us from this pandemic and give us healing because this disease doesn’t know our positions, titles or tribes.”
President Buhari congratulated the new primate on his appointment and was praying for him, his spokesman said, as he leads “Anglicans in Nigeria at a time of contending myriad of challenges for the church, the nation and the world.”
Archbishop Henry was ordained in 1984 at the age of 23 – the minimum age for ordination in the Church of Nigeria. He was made a Canon after five years, aged 28; and became an archdeacon just three years later. He was elected bishop at the age of 38.