The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has directed churches to limit gathering in their worship centres, especially during the crossover night service, to half its capacity, following the rising cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
CAN President Rev. Samson Ayokunle urged churches to encourage their members to get vaccinated and adhere to COVID- 19 protocols.
Ayokunle, who spoke to our correspondent through his Media Assistant, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, said: “Whatever policy that the government adopts for fighting the pandemic is welcome by CAN. In fact, the President, His Eminence, Rev. Dr. Samson Ayokunle, has advised churches in the country to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols in all our worship during the Yuletide season and that includes the Crossover Night service.
“Be that as it may, we are not happy with the attitude of the relevant government agency towards the church whenever there is any Christian festival to be celebrated. Are they saying the pandemic spread only when the Christians are gathering in their hundreds and thousands? Go to any market and see how people are observing the COVID-19 protocols by breaking them and the government will turn its blind eye to the market.
“Go to all airports especially and see how travellers ignore social distancing despite the wearing of the face masks. Go to other public places and see what is happening there. The CAN leadership has called on churches to encourage their members to take the vaccines. We are not only praying against its spread, but we are cooperating with the government in its efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus. However, let there be a stop to this periodic threatening order to the church in the country as if they are the ones spreading it.”
A combined team from relevant agencies of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has stormed some mega churches on a sensitisation campaign.
The administration said that given the nature of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, already ravaging very worrisomely in FCT, and the known overcrowding tradition of worship centres during the crossover, it was necessary to appeal to religious groups to adopt the recommended health guidelines.
FCT Minister’s Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Ikharo Attah said the decision to visit mega churches that have large followership and tendencies for overcrowding, was to avert a situation capable of destroying stakeholders’ investments and efforts at containing the pandemic.