COVID-19: I didn’t dare govt, police over closure of churches in Enugu – Archbishop Chukwuma

The Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province (Anglican Communion), Most. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, said he did not dare government and security agencies on closure of churches in Enugu State over Coronavirus pandemic.

The archbishop made the disclosure in Enugu on Monday after a closed door meeting with the state Governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ahmad AbdurRahman at the Government House.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the cleric was alleged to have held church services on Palm Sunday in some of the Anglican churches in the state.

NAN gathered that the bishop allegedly said that “the Province will not shut any of its branches over Coronovirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic”.

According to him, I was very embarrassed to read the story in the newspaper and the new media; the story is untrue and misleading.

“All I said was that the church is not the building and that the church is the people praying; and people who are church members cannot be shut down in praying in their various homes”.

Chukwuma acknowledged that it had already been agreed in Enugu State that all churches should be closed down and we have been observing it”.

He commended the state government’s proactive safety measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, but maintained his stance that the closure of churches did not mean that bishops and priests could not go into the church and pray.

“The building may be shut but the church is not closed because people are praying in their various houses but are not allowed to come to the church building to pray, except the priests and the bishops.

“I never dared the government, I never dared the police and the police never came to me to say stop this or that because I never had any sort of congregational service.

“Therefore, I want to let the people, Nigerians and the whole world to know that it is not true that I dared the government or that I dared the police”.

In his remark, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Ahmad AbdurRahman, expressed delight that the cleric had cleared the air over the media reports.

The commissioner encouraged the people to obey the preventive protocol and other safety measures adopted to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state, in the overall interest of the public and country. (NAN)