Debo Adeoye, Ibadan
Prior to next Sunday, which is about 40 hours away, the Oyo State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has ordered all Christians in the state to comply with the State Covid-19 Task Force directives on lockdown of religious centres, which include churches in the state.
According to the state chairman, Pastor Benjamin Akanmu, it’s necessary to address and make official statement to guide the leadership of various churches and fellowship centres considering various conflicting news that has rented the air.
“In a situation like this, it’s part of leadership roles, to clear air on misleading information circulating around to safe followers from falling victims of fake news or misinformation which may eventually subject them to severe punishment. As we all know that ignorance is not an excuse in the court of law,” Pastor Akanmu stated.
“The federal government has done the appropriate thing by relaxing the measures to allow each state make its decision based on the current situation and report on Covid-19 pandemic in a particular state. Moreso, state has autonomy to decide on how best to govern it’s subjects.
“As at today the decision of Oyo government is to retain the restrictions earlier imposed on lockdown of religious centres, imposition of curfew from 8pm to 6am, social gathering should not exceed number of people allowed by the government. As residents of Oyo state we all should adhere strictly to the state directives,” he warned.
“As Christians, it’s behooves of us to honour and obey government, regardless of the motive behind the decision or order or policy (either in good or bad faith). Even in a situation where government deliberately work against church, God did not permit us to disobey or involve in violence.
“The best way to show our anger against enemies that brought Covid-19 pandemic on us is to humble ourselves before God. Confess our sins, turn away completely from all evil and ask for the mercy of God
“If we sincerely call for God’s intervention at this point, He will surely answer and set our state and nation free from the bondage of lockdown brought on us by the pandemic. Anything aside that is not of God and CAN will never support it. After all, it is the building that is lockdown, the spirit of Christ that dwell in us cannot be silent.
Responding to questions on whether effect of lockdown of church for a longer period can lead to reduction in church attendance when the ban is eventually lifted. Pastor Akanmu said, “everything happens for good for those who trust in God. This is a period to develop ourselves spiritually to be able to confront the rulers of this world for the Bible says our warfare are not canal but strong and mighty to pull down the stronghold of the enemies.
“That’s why as Christian leaders we train followers of Christ to be adequately equipped with the words of God, prayer and walk according to the righteousness of God. Jesus did not call the pastors alone, he called everyone, He says, “go ye into the world and preach the gospel”, in other words, lockdown shouldn’t be an excuse to be far from God.
“For no reason should any Christian go against the law and order of the government. I have the believe that the Lord will return all our losses during the Covid-19 period in multiple folds in Jesus name. No Christian should go against the law and order of the state government,” Pastor Akanmu prayed.