The Bishop of Anglican Communion, Aba Ngwa North, Rt. Rev Nathan Kanu, has threatened to sanction any priest that allows members to attend church service without face mask.
The Anglican Bishop also decried negligence of the government’s directives on COVID-19 lockdown put together by governors of the affected states in containing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kanu made this known while delivering sermon attended by our correspondent on Sunday.
He said church leaders in various denominations in Abia State assured to take personal responsibility for the enforcement of the rules on social distancing and face masks during service.
According to the cleric, “These are strange times. These are extraordinary times and we must take extraordinary measures. Don’t enter any church in the Diocese of Aba Ngwa North if you don’t have your face mask. Any Priest who allows such people into any of our activities within this period shall be dismissed summarily. If you want to die, die in your house and don’t infect members of my Diocese. I can only be a Bishop if I have members who are alive and healthy.
“Salvation is not free. You must play your part. All through history, God has never saved mankind without men playing some roles in their salvation. When God asked Noah to build an Ark to save the world from the flood, didn’t He have the powers to make them float? Don’t come here with your baseless show of faith. Take it elsewhere. Faith without works is dead!
The Anglican Bishop disclosed, “I was part of the decision taken by the State Government last Friday and we, as Church leaders undertook to take personal responsibility for the enforcement of the rules on Social Distancing and face masks during service. If you don’t want to obey simple rules, please don’t come to any church in this diocese. Whatever it is you think you have, keep it to yourself.
“I will not preside over a disobedient congregation. Nigeria currently has about 2000 cases of this virus and we have not even tested up to 20,000 people out of a population of over 180 million. So how do you know who has it and doesn’t. Why do people like to disobey instructions designed to protect their own lives?
He added, “If you disobey me as your Bishop, even if you see Christ now, you will still do the same. I have been moving around today from church to church in the Diocese to drum it into our ears that if you want to worship at this time, you must obey the rules. There shall be no compromises”.
Kanu, however, advised, “Let us do what is right. Let us be obedient. Let us be safe. When this time passes, we can resume our normal worship sessions and those who want to sleep in the church are free to do so”.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC, confirmed a total of 220 COVID-19 cases in Nigeria on Saturday.
The centre said as at Saturday, May 2 2020, the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria now stands at 2388.