Virology professor Oyewale Tomori says the government has failed to close worship centers amid a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic because the government fears religious leaders in Nigeria.
Tomori, who chairs the COVID-19 Peer Review Committee, also advised religious leaders to follow government guidelines aimed at ensuring public health safety.
He said this on Wednesday in an interview with PUNCH Online, Round table.
Tomori said, “Initially, the government tried to talk to religious leaders, but the problem we have in this country is that we do not speak with one voice – the Alliance will say one thing and the states another.
“In the beginning, when the federal said that the churches should be closed, some states said, no, we will open mosques. We did not speak with one voice in the country either, and that is why it was difficult to make any tangible decision.
“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.’ Control of confidential information 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, very afraid of the large number of people who are religious in the country.”
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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 then would I intentionally enter a danger zone and say, ‘God, come and take care of me’? Stay in your house, He (God) will hear you. Why do you have to go out on December 31st and move to Covid? Stay in your house, “said Tomori.