Covid-19: I’m Bound by the Directive on Closure of Churches, Says Bishop Chukwuma

Bishop of the Enugu Anglican Diocese and Archbishop of the Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma, yesterday refuted reports in the media alleging that he intends to hold a regular church service in defiance of the NCDC’s protocol on Covid-19 social distancing.

Speaking with journalists, Bishop Chukwuma said he was misquoted in an interview published in Daily Sun. “I want to state categorically that it is not true. I never said that I dare the police to shut down my church,” he said, at the press briefing held jointly with the Enugu State police commissioner, Mr. Ahmad AbdurRahman.

Clarifying his position, the cleric explained that he simply meant to point out that the church was different from the building housing it, adding that a church service could still hold even in the absence of a congregation.

“What 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,” he said.

He noted that “it has already been agreed in Enugu State that all churches should be closed down and we have been observing it”.

“We are bound by the government’s directive; and that is where I stand,” he stressed.

The police commissioner commended Bishop Chukwuma for the clarification, adding that it was an indication he would not go contrary to what the law stipulates. “The bishop has said it himself that he did not dare the police, and I believe him,” he said.

He also noted that the NCDC protocol on social-distancing was not a punitive measure targeted at anyone, but taken in the interest of society and to keep everyone safe from the Coronavirus pandemic.

Enugu police commissioner, Mr. AbdurRahman
Bishop Chukwuma

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