The Ondo State Inter-ministerial Committee on COVID-19 has said the decision of the government to place a ban on crossover vigil across the state was not about religion nor targeted at Christianity.
The committee said the decision was aimed at strengthening public safety and strongly prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
The Chairman of the committee, Prof. Adesegun Fatusi, stated this during an interactive meeting with various religious leaders and stakeholders in Akure, the state capital on Wednesday.
Fatusi said the meeting was part of the committee’s strategies to strengthen the fight against COVID-19 and better educate leaders on the need to play an exemplary role in the fight against the virus.
The professor while commending some religious leaders and other stakeholders who have supported the government in its efforts at mitigating the spread of the infectious disease appealed to the church to remain an agent of change.
He said there is a need for every stakeholder, including church leaders, to key into the fight against COVID-19, adding that government will continue to carry out advocacy and sensitization programmes to re-educate the people about the pandemic and its dangers.
“We are talking about a matter of life and death. People have talked about maintaining protocols in the markets and other places, but focus on churches and mosques is because by their designs they spread COVID-19 more than open places.
“It is an enclosed place and people are more active therein. The likelihood of higher infection is very prominent. The decision to cancel crossover vigil is not about churches, you will recall that the government cancelled Muslims gathering too, it is about subsisting order for prevention of outbreak of infection and reducing further spread of COVID-19”.
He maintained that the government was not biased to any religion but concerned about the safety of its citizens, calling on the religious leaders to cooperate with the government.
Responding, the Ondo State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Ayo Oladapo, called on the government to permit churches to celebrate the crossover vigil, stressing that churches had been educating the people on preventive measures against the pandemic.
He pleaded that the CAN was law-abiding and would not work against the directive of the government. He also requested for a stronger working relationship between the church and the government.
Fatusi, who admonished the leaders to obey the government directive regarding the ban on the vigil, promised to convey their appeal for lifting the ban to the governor for further directive.