A Professor of Virology, Oyewale Tomori, says the government has not been able to shut down worship centres amid the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic because the government is afraid of religious leaders in Nigeria.
Tomori, who is the Chairman, Expert Review Committee on COVID-19, also advised religious leaders to obey government directives aimed at guaranteeing 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 said let the churches be closed, some states said, no, we are going to open the mosques. We neither spoke with one voice in the country and that is why it has been difficult to make any tangible decision.
“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, very scared 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 then 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 house,” Tomori stated.