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Sanction those spreading misinformation about COVID-19

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Sir: The Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AfAW) urges the Nigerian government to sanction clerics who are spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine. This call has become necessary following declarations by pastors discouraging the public from taking the COVID-19 vaccine. The pastor of a Church of International Ministries has described the vaccine as

“satanic”. For him, to take the vaccination is to enter into an agreement with the devil. Linking the vaccination to eating genetically modified food, Okotie further noted that the vaccine would turn the vaccinated into vampires that suck blood: 

“You do not understand the spiritual import, but now you know. So when you eat that genetically modified food that you eat and take the vaccine, you’ve entered communion with Satan, with Lucifer. And that communion involves blood. Now, since the blood of Jesus is not what is talking about, or what he has to offer, he will require you to seek blood somewhere else. And the only place where you can find blood is in another human being. So one of the things that the vaccine will make you do is to become a vampire who needs to drink blood for sustenance.”

Another pastor, Apostle Suleman, said this about the COVID-19 vaccine: “Me, I won’t take it, my wife won’t take it, my children will not take it. If they say my child must take it before he goes to school, I’ll withdraw the child from going to school.” The General Overseer of the Omega Fire Ministries International, who linked the vaccination to the Antichrist narrative, had in the past urged the government to allow him into the isolation areas so that he could heal COVID-19 patients.

In a related development, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of the LoveWorld Inc has declared that those who believe in God should not believe in the vaccine: “What happened to you? Where is the word of God in your mouth? Do you realise if you believe in the word of God the way you believe in this vaccine, there will be power in your mouth? He made us healers.” 

Vaccination is central to any attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19. So these self-acclaimed men of God who make pronouncements that demonise the vaccine and undermine efforts to combat the pandemic should be called to order. These faith-healing pastors should be opposed, resisted, and penalised. The government must safeguard public health; it should take urgent measures to combat misinformation about COVID-19 and other health problems. The government should sanction these pastors and other charlatans who are using their positions to spread misconceptions and endanger public health.
Leo Igwe.

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