CONTROVERSIAL pastorpruener Bishop David Oyedepo has alleged that Nigeria is no longer fighting Covid-19 but an anti-church virus as places of worship remain closed while markets are allowed to operate normally.
Like most other countries, Nigeria closed down markets, sports centres, places of worship, restaurants, cinemas, etc in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Over the last month, however, there has been a gradual easing of the lockdown, with markets allowed to re-open but the ban on all the other areas remain in place.
Bishop Oyedepo’s Living Faith Worldwide church, also known as Winners Chapel, is one of the largest in the world, attracting thousands of worshipers who throng to its Canaanland headquarters, which has a capacity of 50,000. Worshippers pay a monthly tithe representing 10% of their earnings to Winners Chapel but with the lockdown, this source of revenue has dried up, hitting Nigerian evangelical churches hard.
Speaking on Sunday while delivering a sermon on various topics, including the federal government’s restriction on social gatherings, Bishop Oyedepo lamented the fact that churches are not allowed to open. In his address, which was delivered online, Bishop Oyedepo cursed those he said might be against the church, dismissed claims that places of worship are vulnerable with respect to the spread of Covid-19.
He added that about 114 members of his church testified to have been healed of coronavirus yet places of worship have remained shut unlike in market places where he said people contract the illness due to zero hand-washing and physical distancing. According to Bishop Oyedepo coronavirus no longer exists in Lagos and Ogun states, adding that all they are now infected with is the anti-church virus.
Bishop Oyedepo said: “What they want us to believe is that there is the evil of corona in the church. It’s the greatest lie ever told on the earth as the church is God’s healing clinic, not where you gather sickness.
“He healed me of tuberculosis and many people across the world have been delivered by the power of God. Is that where to shut down? This is no longer coronavirus, it is now the anti-church virus.
“The gods of this world are behind it but there are human instruments that they engage. Can anybody silence the church? No. I’ve never heard of anybody God healed in the market but we get healing in the church.”
Pointing out that Winners Chapel has recorded a total of 114 coronavirus healings, Bishop Oyedepo said they witnessed 10 this week alone. He lamented the fact that there was zero social distancing in market places but under the same atmosphere, you cannot go to church.
Bishop Oyedepo added: “It’s a grand desire of the devil globally to silence the church. What they call coronavirus has suddenly become an anti-church virus, as the market place is rocking, people are running over themselves.
“Nigeria’s coronavirus never goes to the market, it only goes to the church. Some merchants of evil are behind it. Churches that heal are shutdown, yet markets, where you collect diseases, are open. Be waiting for God’s red-eye.”
Nigeria currently has 24,567 cases of coronavirus, of which there have been 565 fatalities, with Lagos State being the epicentre of the pandemic. Lagos State alone accounts for 10,144 cases of Covid-19 in Nigeria, while Ogun State, where Canaanland is located, is number eight on the list with 782 cases.
Across Nigeria, incidences of coronavirus are still on the rise as on 28 June, there were 490 new cases nationwide, with 118 of them in Lagos State alone. Canaanland borders Lagos and Ogun states, with many of its workers coming from the Lagos metropolis.