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If not wisely handled, the days after the lockdown and the reopening of religious houses may set the Lagos State or even the Federal Government on a war path.

The government has brought out various conditions which churches and mosques should meet before opening for their various programmes and services, and one of such is that they should come and register before they reopen.

Church leaders have been raising various questions on why government should compel them to register their premises and members as well as submit their premises for inspections before they begin service.

Other conditions which have been making church leaders to suspect the government’s move is the one that prescribes that younger and older people should stay away from the church. The church leaders see this as one of the government’s moves to weaken the church.

Other issues raised by concerned ministers about the government’s conditions to open the church is about limiting Sunday service the only fellowship presently allowed by the government to only a duration of one hour per service. The church leaders are saying this is too short a time to do all that they have to do in a normal church service.

One of the statements read, “Why don’t you tell the market sellers and buyers to open for one hour?; Why don’t you tell all operating companies & banks to use 1 hour ?; Why don’t you tell government houses to also open for 1 hour?, Why don’t you make all outdoor activities and services 1 hour?, Why don’t the Police & other law enforcement agents open for 1 hour?, Why don’t the military open for 1 hour?,” and conclude with the questions of why should the government tell the church to open for only one hour on seven days?

Another area church leaders are not satisfied with the government’s condition is that of use of law enforcement agents to help churches maintain law and order, noting that churches have been known for orderliness and crowd control long before the Covid-19 lockdown.

“The state governments need to learn from our large churches when it comes to organisation, law, order, protocol, crowd control and excellence,” they explain.

One of those who do not believe in the government’s reopening condition is Rev. Chris Okotie of Household of God Church. He, in a statement described the government’s condition as part of satanic moves to rearrange the mode of worship in the church.

According to him the guidelines were part of fulfilment of the Bible prophecy against the church being played out and that rearranging the church’s mode of worship “is to deny God the divine prerogative of congregational adoration,” and he has therefore rejected it in its totality.

He has therefore decided to put his church under lock until the total end of the pandemic when everywhere is free and safe to worship God and do all essential things.

“Our doors will remain closed until these profamation and secularisation have been pulverised by the emperor of heaven,” adding that unto Him (God) shall the gathering of His people be.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Lagos State has assured members that they have started to review the situation and all critical issues of concern will be resolved. The CAN leaders urged their members to continue to prepare for the reopening of the churches ahead of the June 21 date set by the government.

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Julius Adegunna, a writer, and publisher of good news and reports. He is also a trainer in Writing and Publishing, a Media Consultant and an Entrepreneur. A 1987 Graduate of International Relations of the University of Ife, (Now Obafemi Awolowo University) with Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations, and Master in Communication Studies of Lagos State University. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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