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Martins urges Sanwo-Olu to ease restriction on religious gatherings

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Says churches are better placed to contain COVID-19
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev Alfred Adewale Martins, yesterday urged Lagos State Government to ease the restriction on religious gatherings in the state, contending that churches are better placed to maintain discipline among their faithful than most other institutions.

Reacting to the news making the rounds that Lagos State Government, through its Commissioner for Home Affairs, Mr. Anofiu Elegushi, is insisting on continued restriction on religious gatherings, Martins wondered why the conclusion that it is when people gather to worship that coronavirus can be spread instead of the markets, motor parks and banks where people cluster and huddle together.

In a statement yesterday by the Director of Social Communications, Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu, the Prelate said though COVID-19 pandemic is real; it is a thing of concern that the numbers are rising.

He said: “However, we know also that the virus will be with us for some time and more testing will reveal more infected persons but at the same time, the truth is that life must go on. We believe strongly that churches, as institutions, are better able to exert control of situations and maintain discipline among their faithful than most other institutions.

“The argument that we can pray in our individual houses and God will hear our prayers is true but it is also true for us as Christians that gathering together to worship is our heritage and practice arising from the Holy Bible.

“If Christians were willing to suspend their right to gather in church buildings for the sake of common good at a time when all gatherings of people were suspended, it is unfair and unjust for government to restrict gatherings for worship when other gatherings are being allowed.”

He said that anyone who argues that gathering to worship is not essential, obviously does not understand the spiritual, emotional and psychological soothing that Christians get from gathering together to worship.

The cleric, therefore, appealed to Lagos State government to take religious leaders into confidence and keep in mind that we are partners in ensuring the safety of our people.


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