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NMA, CAN disagree over Lagos full reopening of churches

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The Christian Association of Nigeria, Lagos State, has commended the decision of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to fully reopen churches, saying it is the right thing to do.

But the Nigerian Medical Association, Lagos chapter, described the decision to fully open worship centres in the state as hasty.

The Chairman of CAN, Apostle Alexander Bamgbola, told The PUNCH that prayers were responsible for the minimal effects of the virus in the state.

He said a minimum of 30 million Nigerians were expected to die from the COVID-19 pandemic, but God prevented it.

Bamgbola said, “By the end of February and early March when this thing started, I had access to privileged information from America that a minimum of 40 million Africans would die from this virus and 30 million of them will be Nigerians. But we serve a living God.

“Those who say Nigeria is the most corrupt nation always conclude that ‘one thing they do is to pray’. They have seen that we serve a living God. We thank the governor for listening to us. He has done well after looking at all the variables.”

The cleric, however, added that CAN would ask worship centres to keep to all safety measures to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

But, speaking to one of our correspondents, the Chairman, Lagos NMA Committee on COVID-19 Response, Dr Japhet Olugbodi, said the state should have waited awhile before the full reopening of churches.

He said, “I think we should have tarried a little bit and see what comes out of the reopening of the airports. The strain of COVID-19 in Nigeria is different from the one in some countries, and since we’ve opened the airport, we may have people bringing in another strain of the virus that is different and deadlier than the one in the country.

“We should have seen how that goes first before reopening the economy fully. I understand that people are hard-pressed, but there is a popular saying that goes thus, ‘safety first.’ I think we could have tarried a bit till about another month after reopening of the airports before the full reopening of the economy.”

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