The Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, Oyo State chapter, Pastor Benjamin Akanmu, has urged Christians to abide by the guidelines put in place by government to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Akanmu gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Ibadan.
NAN reports that the Federal Government recently lifted the ban on religious gatherings, while the Oyo State Government was yet allow opening of worship centres.
Akanmu warned against confrontation between pastors and government, urging Christians to be orderly and patient while negotiating for a better understanding in order not to be tagged “rebellious.”
The CAN Chairman urged church members to take all precautionary measures, including the use of face mask, keeping physical distance, as well regular hand washing and use of hand sanitiser.
He said: “It’s normal to clamour for the reopening of worship centres as people are used to it.
“Bible says that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved, so it’s paramount to call on God in such a time.”
Akanmu commended the efforts of government and the medical personnel so far in the fight against COVID-19.
Also, the Catholic Bishop of Oyo, Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo, appealed to religious leaders to educate members on the importance of worshiping and living safely as well.
Badejo said: “As religious leaders, faithful, we must know that there is no need to take unnecessary risks.
“We should follow health safety precautions.
“We believe in God, but must take all precautions in order not to put God to the test as Jesus warned.”
He urged the Oyo State Government to complement the gesture and restore the rights of the freedom of religious gatherings, while it sustained the awareness campaign against spread of COVID-19.
Badejo added: “We thank God for FG’s relaxation of the ban on religious gatherings.
“Religious observances are not a disposable factor for human life.
“Community prayer is part of the solution, not part of our problems.”
Similarly, Pastor Vincent Ajiboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Jesus Assembly Parish, Ibadan enjoined all faithful to be prayerful and watchful in such a trying time.
Ajiboye said: “At God’s own appropriate time the church will be opened.
“According to the Bible, to everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
“Except the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain that build it.
“Except the Lord keeps the city, the watchman waketh but in vain (Psalm 127:1).
“The opening of churches when the time comes will be a glorious one very soon.”