“We are Ready to Discuss Worship Guidelines with FG”

Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Alfred Adewale Martins

Ugo Aliogo

As part of measures to comply with the directives of the federal government on the reopening of church and worship centers, the Archbishop of Lagos Archdiocese, Dr. Alfred Martins, has expressed the commitment of the Christianity community to discuss with government on the worship guidelines.

Martins, who disclosed this yesterday in Lagos at a media briefing to mark the 2020 World Day of Communication, said engagement with the government would allow church leaders to understand the guidelines that must be followed to ensure that worshippers congregate while keeping safe from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also noted that the church is mindful of the safety of its members, and cannot be irresponsible enough to ask them to gather without taking safety measures.

He further stated that the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwolu had in recent times affirmed that the statusquo in worship centers would be maintained, but also gave indications that soon, the state government would engage the Churches and Mosques to ascertain their preparedness to return to worship.

According to him, “We are ready to engage with the government and do that which needs to be done to keep safe and use our right to worship to gather together. The Archdiocese of Lagos, through various parishes have been offering palliatives and support to parishioners during the period of lockdown. The Archdiocese has also provided financial support to some parishes that are not financial strong.”

The clergyman commended calls by some section of the public for government to allow herbal vaccine for the cure of the coronavirus while stating that herbal medicine has its own therapeutic effects.

Martins said: “It is important that the federal government gives an opportunity to herbal medicine practitioners to use local herbs and roots and come with remedies for the COVID-19 pandemic. We have had these local remedies curing different kinds of diseases over time, so it is only appropriate that they should be given a chance to prove their mettle at this point in time. Though we understand that there is need for testing and validation, but it should not be taken lightly. Madagascar did it own recently and that has created urgency for the government at home to herbal products.

“Regarding if the federal government has tried in tackling the COVID-19, I think we can look at from different perspectives, I believe here in Lagos state we can say without fear of contradiction that the state government has tried on its part and is putting more measures in place flatten the curve. The speed with which the Lagos state government took action is very commendable. The steps that have been taken since then to establish isolation centers and to get people to support is also laudable. The information dissemination about the pandemic is also commendable.

“I have been hearing stories about the donation of health facility to government. It is not true that the Catholic Church donated health facilities to federal government. What the Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has done is to make available for government to use those health facilities when there is need for it.”