Virology professor Oyewale Tomori says the government did not close worship centers amid the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic because the government fears religious leaders in Nigeria.
Tomori, chairman of the COVID-19 Peer Review Committee, also advised religious leaders to abide by government directives to ensure public health safety.
He made the remarks on Wednesday in a PUNCH Online interview program, Roundtable.
Tomori said, “Initially the government tried to talk to religious leaders, but the problem we have in this country is that we don’t speak with one voice – the Alliance will say one thing and the states will say something else.
“Initially, when the federal government said that churches should be closed, some states said, no, we will open mosques. We did not speak with one voice in the country either, so it is a challenge to decide.
“Some of our religious leaders have said that the government has no right to determine who comes to their churches, but even our Lord Jesus Christ said, ‘Give Caesar what is Caesar’s.’ Ovid in the state is in the hands of the government. Give to the government and follow their control.
“The government itself is so afraid of these religious leaders, terrified of the large number of people who are religious in the country.”
A health expert, who advised Nigerians to avoid large gatherings during Christmas and New Year celebrations, also urged citizens to follow all prevention protocols recommended by health authorities and the government.
If I sit in my room and pray to God, He will hear me because He is Omnipresent and Almighty. Why would I intentionally enter a danger zone and say, “God, come and watch over me?” Stay in your house. He (God) will to hear you. Why do you have to go out on December 31st and move to Covid? Stay in your house, “Tomori said.
He called on the federal government to ban all flights from the United Kingdom and other countries with a large number of COVID-19 cases.
No less than 40 countries, including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritius, have suspended travel from Britain in an attempt to curb the rapid spread of the new strain COVID-19.
Tomori, chairman of the COVID-19 Review Committee, said Nigeria has not yet banned passengers from Britain because government officials want to travel to the UK, which has become one of the main destinations of the Nigerian elite.
“The reason is that big people think of themselves. ‘Oh, I want to go to London. My kids want to go home.’ That’s why they’re putting the whole country in danger,” Tomori said on Wednesday.