Senior Pastor of Daystar Christian Center, Rev Sam Adeyemi, has asked members of his church not to bother attending physical worship services this weekend or in the immediate future.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu recently announced that mosques and churches can resume physical services on August 7 and 9 respectively, after being shut since March as one in a raft of measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
However, Adeyemi, who heads one of the biggest church audiences in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital and most populous city, says his flock won’t be taking the risk just yet and that online services will continue.
“We are aware of the Lagos State Government’s announcement that churches can resume physical services from 9th August 2020. We thank God for the progress made so far by the federal and state governments, the NCDC and our frontline health workers,” Rev Adeyemi said in a statement co-signed by his wife, Nike.
“However, the leadership of Daystar Christian Centre has resolved NOT to open her worship centres for physical gathering on the immediate.
“Daystar Christian Centre will continue to hold her services online exclusively pending further review. We look forward to the resumption of physical services in a safe environment. We urge our members and friends to join us on all our online platforms for life transforming services,” the statement added.
Deeply religious Nigeria is almost evenly split between a predominantly Christian south and a predominantly Muslim north.
Some pastors of megachurches in the south have repeatedly railed against the continued closure of worship centers, citing government’s directive as a ploy by the devil to prevent the nation from salvation.
Lagos is the epicenter of Nigeria’s COVID-19 outbreak with the most confirmed cases. Lagos has confirmed 15,627 cases and 192 deaths at the time of filing this.
Nigeria has recorded 45, 244 COVID-19 cases, 32, 430 recoveries and 930 fatalities as of August 6, 2020.