Akw Ibom Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo has expressed concern at the level of non-compliance and reckless abandonment of safety protocols of COVID-19 by members of the public.
Ekpo said “COVID-19 virus is still on the rampage and the new variant known as the Delta variant is very serious. A word is sufficient for the wise,” calling for caution to help stop the spread of the deadly virus.
He stated this at a reception marking the 65th birthday anniversary of the Catholic Bishop of Ikot Ekpene, Most Rev. Camilus Umoh held at St. Ann’s Cathedral, Ifuho, Ikot Ekpene Diocese.
The deputy governor charged the public to cooperate with government in the fight against the virus by observing the safety protocols to prevent contacting the deadly Delta variant which is on rampage.
Ekpo, however, saw the Catholic Bishop as a rare gift to the Diocese of Ikot Ekpene, pointing out that the Diocese has been lucky to have a true shepherd.
He attributed his good stewardship to his appointment as the Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, a post, he said, he has not only performed creditably, but has also through effective representation attracted global recognition to the Diocese.
“His Lordship, Most Rev. Camillus Umoh has clearly demonstrated the essence of his priestly calling in his service to God and humanity as he celebrates 65 years,’’ the Deputy Governor noted.
The deputy governor noted that the people of the diocese were still in need of the priestly and humanitarian services of Bishop Umoh as he has always demonstrated the virtues of being a good shepherd who cares for the people.
“We are not tired of him in this diocese and am speaking the minds of the diocesan of the Bishop because of the light he has brought to the diocese, because of the great things that have been happening in the diocese, because of the development that has taken place in the diocese during his tenure and during his watch,” the Deputy Governor said.
As his friend, the deputy maintained that he and Umoh have come a long way and he was lucky to have served as a parish priest of St. John’s Pro- Cathedral and today has remained his diocesan bishop in Ikot Ekpene.
He said as the bishop was celebrating his 65th birthday, his prayer is that God should continue to sustain him in good health, good speed including sufficient ability to do more in His vineyard.
Responding, Bishop Umoh said from the day he came into the ministry and was ordained a bishop, he has depended on the gospel of Jesus Christ, a practice he said has helped him maintain a good working relationship with the church.
While appreciating guests for turning up to celebrate God on his behalf, he urged the youths to shun all vices in order to live long and also charged parents to emulate the good examples of proper parenting by training their children in a godly way.
The Chairman of the occasion, Rev (Fr) Idara Otu, said the purpose of the celebration was to honour a man who has given his life and time for the service of God and humanity.
Rev. Fr. Otu explained that Bishop Umoh values and cares for every human being and cherishes those whose commitment and dedication to God’s work have been a blessing to him.
He noted that born on July 18, 1956, they were there to celebrate not so much of what the Bishop has done or achieved, but what God has done for him, his family and the church.
Otu pointed out that for the past 65 years, God has been faithful to him and he had touched lives, stressing that the birthday anniversary was a gesture of thanksgivings to God.
Highpoint of the event was the public presentation of a book “That They May Have Life,” authored by Rev (Fr) Idara Otu and Valentine Umoh in honour of the Bishop and the cutting of the anniversary cake.
Meanwhile, Bishop Camillus Umoh has served for 11 years as a bishop and 37 years so far in priesthood.