There is freedom of speech and government cannot gag any pastor, though we men of God have to be careful of what we say
The Chairman, Lagos chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Bishop Sola Ore, on Tuesday, reacted to calls for sanction of Nigerian pastors making unfounded claims about the Coronavirus pandemic.
The latest of such controversial claims was made by David Ibiyeomie, founder and senior pastor of Salvation Ministries, who said the coronavirus is a scam.
Ibiyeomie, in a sermon on Sunday which went viral, said Nigeria doesn’t have the virus and even if it does, the figures released by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control was fake.
According to him, COVID-19 is rubbish and the government is merely using the deadly disease to embezzle funds. He added that Malaria had killed more Nigerians than coronavirus. Ibiyeomie’s comments have attracted condemnations from Nigerians.
Speaking in an interview with SaharaReporters on Tuesday, Bishop Ore said, “There is freedom of speech and government cannot gag any pastor, though we men of God have to be careful of what we say and we have the freedom of speech.
“On the part of those that make unverified comments, the onus is on the government to call these people and find out where they got the information. I am sure such a person wouldn’t have spoken without getting his fact; he must have heard something from somewhere.
“You have to be sure of your facts before you speak. Also, the government should be transparent and sincere with the public.”
Speaking on whether churches should be opened now, the bishop said, “Churches may not open once and allow thousands to worship together. Opening of churches should be done in phases of two or three weeks.
“The church is a place of healing and comfort. We need to come together, iron sharpeneth iron, there is a need for fellowship.”