Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kwara State has called on the state government to initiate dialogue on the gradual opening of places of worship in the state following closure due to coronavirus pandemic.
State chairman of the association, Bishop Paul Olawoore, said this in Ilorin, on Sunday, while fielding questions from journalists on this year’s World Communications Day.
Olawoore, who said that the state government did not carry stakeholders along before closure of worship centres in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, added that in spite of this, it went ahead to urge members to abide by the government’s directives.
Most Rev Olawoore, who is also the diocesan Catholic Bishop of Ilorin, echoed Pope Francis adumbration on the danger posed by fake news, rumours, unfounded and baseless lies.
“At the national levels, religious leaders and other stakeholders were called, dialogued with about the situation of things. The national leaders agreed with the government about whatever steps it would take to curtail the spread of the deadly virus.
“That even prompted even the Catholic Church to surrender all our 425 medical facilities to the government to use as isolation centres.
“Unfortunately, in Kwara State, which I am privileged to be CAN chairman, we were neither consulted not briefed before the state announced the closure of worship centres. But we tend to understand with them. Immediately, we urged all our Christian brothers and sisters to abide by the regulation and policies of the government as it is for our good.
“Nobody wants to die now. Even though heaven is far beautiful, I don’t think anyone of us wants to crossover to heaven now. That is why we tend to support them.
“Based on the constant dialogue of the Federal Government and religious leaders at the national level, FG has called them to draw up the guidelines that will encourage to gradually open up places of worship now.
“In Kwara State, as far as I am concerned, I am yet to get an invitation to dialogue the church leaders,” the clergyman said, adding that, “notwithstanding, let us all abide with the precautions governments at all levels advised us to take. It is for our own hygiene.”
He lamented the lockdown of all activities, saying, “the only thing everybody is shouting of now is our inability to go to our places of work. You locked us up but there is no means of sustaining us for feeding, especially those who are living from hand to mouth. Few of us received the so-called palliative. This is where the problem is,” he said.