COVID-19: Adeboye, Ighodalo, other clerics differ on beatings for church members

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Leading Nigerian clerics are currently divided over the COVID-19 vaccination, leaving millions of their direct and indirect supporters puzzled over whether or not to receive vaccines.

Some pastors have encouraged their many members to get vaccinated, others have yet to make their position on the issue known to the public, while some have already asked their members not to do so but to believe in the power to. healing of God.

Pro-vaccine pastors to date include the general overseer of the redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye; the founder of the Kingsway International Christian Center, Rev. Matthew Ashimolowo; the general overseer of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission, Dr Mike Okonkwo; Senior Pastor of Trinity House, Ituah Ighodalo; founder of the Daystar Christian Center, Pastor Sam Adeyemi, among others.

Those indifferent or who have not made any statements for or against vaccination include the general overseer, the Mountain of Fire and Miracles ministries, Dr. Daniel Olukoya; The General Superintendent of the Ministry Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor William Kumuyi, Founder of The Sword of The Spirit Ministries International and President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Bishop Wale Oke, among others.

The main religious who have made their position known against the COVID-19 vaccination are the general overseer of Living Faith Church International (Winners Chapel), Bishop David Oyedepo; the general overseer of Omega Fire Ministries International, Apostle Johnson Suleman; Pastor Chris Okotie, Pastor Chris Okotie; Founder, Christ Embassy, ​​Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, among others.

Nigeria has so far recorded more than 200,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 2,700 associated deaths since the index case of the deadly virus was reported in the country in March 2020, according to statistics from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control.

The federal government, through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, has since encouraged Nigerians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 so the country can achieve herd immunity.

About five million Nigerians have since received their first COVID-19 vaccines while about two million have completed their second doses, according to NPHCDA statistics at the end of September.

The federal government is also encouraging religious and political leaders to get vaccinated to allay public reluctance to get vaccinated.

Speaking to worshipers on Friday night during the church’s monthly Holy Spirit service at the Redemption Camp along the Lagos-Ibadan highway, Adeboye said, “I never told you, ‘Don’t worry. vaccinate. ‘ You never heard that from me. Rather than living in fear or doubt, get vaccinated. If you think getting the vaccine will give you comfort, then go for it.

“Dad, are you saying you could get vaccinated too?” If there are nations in the world that say I can’t come and preach the gospel there because of the vaccination, I’ll do anything for Jesus Christ.

“If the vaccination or no vaccination is going to prevent me from doing the work that God has called me to do, even if they ask me to be vaccinated 100 times, I will be vaccinated. So never say you heard from me that I said you shouldn’t be vaccinated.

However, Oyedepo had said he would not be vaccinated, adding that he was not a guinea pig.

In May 2021, during the 40th anniversary thanksgiving service of the church in Ota, Ogun state, its members were warned not to take the “deadly thing” called the vaccine.

“Let me warn you about this deadly thing going around the land because it has not been properly tested. An elder of this church, who works with the World Health Organization, confirmed this, thanking me for always telling the truth about the authenticity of the COVID-19 vaccine, ”he said.

Like Oyedepo, Suleman had also said to his disciples: “I am not saying that it is spiritual but I see something medical; this thing is not good and I hear in some places now that they are making it mandatory. People are watching online; they will misunderstand me. If you want to take it, take it, but I will advise anyone who is aware not to take it. It’s not healthy.”

Likewise, Okotie had said, “Since the blood of Jesus is not what he (Satan) is talking about, or what he has to offer, he will ask you to look for blood elsewhere.” And the only place you can find blood is in another human being. So one of the things the vaccine will cause you to do is become a vampire who needs to drink blood for food.

On March 30, Oyakhilome was seen in a video posted to the church’s YouTube channel, condemning his fellow Christian clerics for telling their worshipers to receive the vaccine.

Oyakhilome had said, “I cannot understand how a minister of the gospel would wait for a vaccine to be the solution for the world. Where is your faith Where is the Word of God in your mouth? If I say to someone, “You will live and not die”, that is all for them.

But Ighodalo dispelled the claims about the vaccine in an interview, saying, “It is foolishness to continue to believe that God will protect you from an infection (for which) He has planned vaccines that can provide a high percentage of protection.

Ighodalo advised his fellow pastors “to do their research, acquire the knowledge and stop misinforming and inappropriately educating people on conjectures, instincts and mere guesses.”

Members of churches in Kumuyi, Olukoya and Oke who spoke in separate interviews with our correspondent said their leaders have not spoken out for or against the COVID-19 vaccination.

Efforts to obtain comments from the ministries of Oke, Olukoya and Kumuyi were unsuccessful at the time of the filing of this report.

Moreover, efforts to secure the post of a former general evangelist of the Apostolic Church of Christ, the Prophet Samuel Abiara, have not been crowned with success.

When contacted, CAN secretary general Joseph Daramola said: “CAN has not taken any official position on the issue. He also declined to respond to further inquiries on the matter.

However, the President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Professor Innocent Ujah, in a previous interview with Sunday PUNCH, lamented that people took the opportunity to deceive people because Nigeria “is a diverse country that is in largely illiterate “.

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