A Professor of Virology, Oyewale Tomori, says the government has not shut down worship centres amid the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic because the government is afraid of religious leaders in Nigeria.
Tomori, the Chairman, Expert Review Committee on COVID-19, also advised religious leaders to obey government directives to guarantee public health safety.
He stated this on Wednesday while speaking on a PUNCH Online interview programme, The Roundtable.
Tomori said, “At the beginning, the government tried to speak with religious leaders, but the problem we have in this country is that we are not speaking with one voice – the Federal will say one thing and states will say another thing.
“In the beginning, when the federal government said the churches should be closed, some states said, no, we are going to open the mosques. We neither spoke with one voice in the country, so it has been challenging to decide.
“Some of our religious leaders said the government has no right to determine who comes to their churches, but even our Lord Jesus Christ said, ‘Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. Covid control is in the hands of the government. Give to the government and follow their control.
“The government itself is so scared of these religious leaders, terrified because of the large number of people who are religious in the country.”
The health expert, who advised Nigerians to avoid large gatherings during the Christmas and New Year celebrations, also urged citizens to observe all preventive protocols recommended by health authorities and the government.
“If I sit down in my room and pray to God, He will hear me because He is Omnipresent and Omnipotent. Why should I deliberately go into the 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 cross over to Covid? Stay in your home,” Tomori stated.
He urged the Federal Government to ban all flights from the United Kingdom and other countries with high cases of COVID-19.
No fewer than 40 countries including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Mauritius, have suspended travel from Britain in a bid to contain a fast-spreading new strain of COVID-19.
Tomori, the Chairman, Expert Review Committee on COVID-19, said Nigeria was yet to ban travellers from Britain because government officials want to travel to the UK, which has become one of the Nigerian elite’s top destinations.
“The reason is that big people are thinking of themselves. ‘Oh, I want to go to London. My children want to come back home’. That is why they are putting g the whole country in danger,” Tomori said on Wednesday.
SaharaReporters, New York