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Pastor Oyakhilome needs to leave this coronavirus topic alone, it’s really not his thing [Pulse Editor's Opinion]

Nigeria is battling an infodemic. Pastors shouldn't make it worse.

Pastor Chris Oyakhilome [Christ Embassy]

He needs to give it up now. We've just about had enough.

Whenever I see a clip of the suave and urbane preacher on my social media timeline these days, I know he’s up to one of his obtuse conspiracy theories once more. And he's yet to disappoint.

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In the last couple of weeks, Oyakhilome, who commands quite the local and global following, has blamed ‘a yet-to-be-deployed-in-Nigeria’ 5G technology for COVID-19, scoffed at global lockdown measures, linked the face mask to a bid to reduce the world’s population, confused carbon dioxide for carbon monoxide and called out the authorities for banning congregational worship.

He demonises 5G with 4G enabled smart devices and calls out scientists for fooling the world while professing his love for science and technology-- in the same breath.

"What killed people in Wuhan, China, wasn't the virus. It was 5G," Oyakhilome says without flinching. "What the world is dealing with right now is not a virus. This is the biggest deception in the world."

In Oyakhilome’s echo chamber, scientists are lying about the virus, its severity, preventative protocols and its cause.

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Exactly the kind of warped mindset a religious leader shouldn't possess at this time.

Whenever Oyakhilome picks up the mic these days, he’s doctor, engineer, telecoms guru and climate change expert all rolled into one--everything but a preacher of the gospel.

It is little wonder that the UK authorities have done the most sensible thing of yanking his programmes off the airwaves and suspending his broadcast license lest his teachings lead to the torching of more masts in Europe.

It should worry Nigerians that some of the biggest pastors in the land with so called megachurches to their names like Oyakhilome, Bishop David Oyedepo and David Ibiyeomie, have chosen these precarious times to misinform rather than educate millions who swear by their every word.

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There has to be a way of stopping them from causing further damage to a world where some still consider the novel coronavirus a hoax.

Oyakhilome for one has to take a chill pill and focus on edifying the flock as his primary job demands. The world is confronting a pandemic. The last thing we should do is continue to cede the public space to those skilled in the sinister art of infodemics.

Special shoutout then to the likes of Pastor Poju Oyemade, Rev Sam Adeyemi and Pastor Tunde Bakare whose measured tone and counsel have united the body of Christ the more at this time. Oh, how we needed them!

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*Pulse Editor's Opinion is the opinion of an editor of Pulse. It does not represent the opinion of the organization Pulse.

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