By Luminous Jannamike
The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, on Wednesday, described the warning by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 against Christmas Carol to curb a second wave the of the virus as insensitive.
The Vice Chairman (Northern region) of the umbrella Christian body, Rev. John Hayab, stated this in an interview with the Vanguard in Abuja.
Recall that the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, at a briefing by the PTF, said Christmas carols, other gatherings during the yuletide were capable of becoming ‘super spreaders’ of the virus, hence the need for Nigerians to avoid them as much as possible.
However, CAN said it was not right for the Presidential Task Force to threaten a ban on Christmas carol without discussion with the leadership of the church on the way forward.
He argued that religious gatherings would not escalate the spread of the virus during the yuletide, so long as the Churches maintained its high-level compliance with the current guidelines set by the government for reopening of worship centres.
Hayab said, “Christians have been holding worship services and observing all Federal Government protocols, and other medical advice on coronavirus since the lockdown was relaxed and worship centres were reopened.
“So, what we expected from the PTF on were advice for continued compliance by religious bodies and the general public to the already established protocols.
“But to mention Christmas Carol or suggest a ban only shows how insensitive some privileged government officials can be.
“The Church is doing more than what the PTF has requested us to do till now, and church leaders are still encouraging followers to practice those protocols both at home, market and anywhere there was more that ten persons.
“CAN remains ready and willing to work with, and help the PTF and all other relevant agencies to sensitize our congregations to observe any new or additional protocols to stop the spread of the virus, but the message from the PTF about the Christmas Carol is wrong and poorly timed.”