Claims by the federal government that churches in Nigeria flout Covid-19 protocols have been debunked, with the government advised to focus on educating the vast number of citizens who move about without masks and sanitizers.
Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, the Senior Pastor of Trinity House Church, who was a guest on ARISE News said:
“To speak to the issue of whether the churches are the ones going against Covid-19 protocols, I regret to say that I don’t quite agree. I think the government has bigger fish to fry,” Mr. Ighodalo told ARISE News.
He added further that: “If you go to any of the markets, any of the bus-stops, any of the busy places, people don’t even wear masks, so those gatherings of people is much more than the gatherings you have in any church from time to time, and in fairness to most churches they have tried, a few no doubt have flouted the rules here and there but most of them have tried to keep to the COVID protocols.
“For about four months no church was open, everything was online, subsequently government began to reopen the church bit by bit, most of them had the social spacing that was required, they did the handwashing and temperature check that was required, a few flouted but most of the churches did not have their big gatherings this year.
“So the huge churches did their best to observe these things (protocols), so it’s not fair to say that it is the churches that are flouting covid guidelines.”
Mr. Ighodalo told ARISE News that churches should be shut down if the need arises.
“There is nothing sacrosanct about a religious house, it is just a gathering of people who want to worship God. If that gathering and that intimacy in the gathering will lead to the spread of germs or disease, God because you want to worship him will not say that the physical things you need to do should not be done.
“So if we need to shut down the churches, why not, it was shut down several months ago, we didn’t die, we survived, the churches learned how to go online and Christianity benefited from it because we now began to use more of technology to offer our evangelism and worship of God.
“We’ve reduced things to house fellowships, smaller gatherings but you know what life must continue. No church should feel the government is against them, we are just a social gathering, the same way they are against night clubs, the same way they are against event centres, it is nothing personal and I really don’t take it personally.
“I think we are in a moment of crisis and if the churches need to pay some price or go through some situation, then let’s go through it.
“But my own pain point is the market, is the places where people don’t seem to be paying attention to the gatherings there, people don’t wear masks and they think they are immune, even in some parts of Nigeria, people don’t even believe that covid exist. So the government need to spend a lot of time and energy in really educating the people in a lot of these places.”
By Abel Ejikeme