Tunde Bakare, the serving overseer of The Citadel Global Community Church, formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly, has defended the closure of religious worship centres by the Federal Government as part of measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
Speaking in an online broadcast to members of his congregation on Sunday, Bakare said the comments of some prominent Christian leaders lamenting the continued closure of churches is not apt at this point as the disease continues to spread across different parts of the country.
He noted that the comparison between churches and markets, which have been opened by the government, by such religious leaders is not tenable as the latter needs to be opened to prevent citizens from suffering from hunger.
He said: “This morning, I would like to bring ethical correction to some of the lamentations of certain people within the church over the ban of congregational worship in churches across the land, while markets and hospitals are allowed to operate.
“I am so glad that no only churches are prevented now from congregating, the mosques also are lockdown.
“The government order to open the markets to operate for a few days is to prevent hunger, especially in the life of daily earners because the palliatives from the government cannot go to every citizen.”
Bakare stated that rather than criticise the Federal and state governments for their actions, religious leaders should collaborate with the government to defeat COVID-19 by donating some of their facilities as isolation centres.
He noted that he has done his own bit by providing part of his church’s facility in Ogba to the Lagos State government and a private building to the Ogun State government.
He said: “Those churches with multiple facilities, rather than their leaders criticising the government, they should collaborate with them. They must be prepared to offer some of their halls to governmental authorities as isolation centres in support of the efforts of the government.
“After all, it was to the safe custody of the Inn Keeper that the good samaritan in the parable of the good samaritan kept the wounded man left for dead on the way to Jericho.
“The Inn Keeper is the pastor, the inn is the church, the wounded man is the sick world, and the two denarii is wages for two years because a day with the lord is like a thousand years.
“I recommend that our church halls be made available to the government as isolation centres, and those of us who could afford it should be there to support the government.”