The Edo State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called for a shutdown of services within church premises across the state, as part of urgent measures to support government’s efforts to check the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Chairman of the Edo State CAN, Bishop Oriname Oyenude, made the appeal during a press briefing in Benin City, Edo State capital.
According to him, “All churches should totally close down. We discovered that government restriction on church services to a maximum of 20 persons is still a big risk when we observed the trend. We are going to join forces with the Edo State Government to deal with this evil darkness that is ravaging our nation and our land.”
He said, “I appeal to government for a complete lockdown now at least for the next two weeks and for the imposition of a curfew, if necessary. We appeal to security agencies to assist in enforcing government orders to minimize the fatality.”
Oyenude noted, “All churches are to shut down their doors for the next two weeks. All churches should explore the use of the internet and social media platforms to reach out to their members where pastors can deliver their sermons, while the congregation stays at home.
“This decision is good for every one of us. A pastor needs to stay alive to preach while the congregation needs to stay alive for the pastor to be able to reach them. We don’t want a situation where this evil darkness called ‘COVID-19’ will overtake us.
Quoting from the book of Isaiah 26:20, the chairman said, “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.”
He added, “As we cooperate, it is safety and victory for all of us over COVID-19. After this announcement, government officials and taskforce will move to implement government decision and we don’t want any of our pastors or churches to be humiliated. Please, I appeal to you in the name of Jesus Christ to comply for the safety of all of us.”
On his part, General Overseer, Omega Fire Ministry, Apostle Johnson Suleiman, in a televised message, urged Christian leaders to support all levels of government in checking the spread of Coronavirus, noting, “This is not a persecution but a tribulation. I advise Christians to obey the instruction of government. The earlier we obey, the earlier we tame the tide of the attack of the devil.”