Closure of Churches No Longer Tenable, Says CAN


Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called on states, particularly Lagos and Ogun, to reopen churches and kicked against their continued closure.

CAN, in a statement yesterday by the Special Assistant, (Media and Communications), to its president, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, said the continued closure of the worship centres was against the new relaxed lockdown protocol given by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

“The continued lockdown order on the places of worship is no longer acceptable and reasonably justified,” it added.
The federal government had in March directed the closure of religious centres as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
But CAN has said despite the directive on the reopening of religious centres by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the states were yet to comply.

CAN said: “Despite the directive given by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 with regards to the re-opening of places of worship nationwide, some states like Lagos and Ogun are yet to allow worship places, especially churches, to be reopened. What sin have the places of worship committed?

“With the sudden emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria at all levels agreed with the government on the need to close down the places of worship, economy, schools and every other facet of life.

“But with the reopening of the economy, especially the markets (both organised and the unorganised markets) along with the plan to reopen airports and schools, the closure of churches anywhere in the country is no longer tenable and acceptable. In what way are the opened and roadside markets more organised than the church, which warranted their opening?

“Is it not our members in the places of worship that do go to markets and other sectors opened? Why are they allowed to go to markets and disallowed from going to places of worship? Is it because the marketers cannot contract the virus in the markets and airports?”

The association said while scientists and researchers were working to produce a vaccine for the COVID-19, the church had a spiritual role to play in the fight against the pandemic.