Travel restrictions are being effected. Partial market lockdowns have been ordered, with many dreading the imminent economic fallout of such measures. From only one patient in Lagos, Nigeria’s coronavirus numbers have soared to a staggering 97 cases.

Several countries don’t seem to be faring any better, with the number of infected persons globally exceeding 500,000. The death toll from the zoonotic disease currently stands at over 25,000 across a total of 199 countries. What’s more troubling is that vaccines are still months away.

But, while governments and law enforcement agencies globally are busy enforcing precautionary strategies, many would agree that the roles of some existing and former religious/political leaders can’t be over-reiterated amid the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

It appears, however, that there are those among them who hold unorthodox views as regards the outbreak. Some have attributed it to a deity attempting to “separate the wheat from the chaff” while others have held the opinion that the death toll signals some retribution for men’s ungodly ways.

Enoch Adeboye

Enoch Adeboye, general overseer (GO) of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), had opened the floodgates of mixed reactions after he was captured on video clips reassuring Nigerians that COVID-19 won’t come near them so long as they serve God wholeheartedly.

“I want to assure you that there’s no virus that’ll come near you at all because it is written that he who dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadows of the almighty,” the clergyman said.

“I believe that this is a time for God to show you that there’s a difference between those who serve him wholeheartedly and those who do not.  It shall be well with you. You’ll have peace and good health.”

The 78-year-old cleric had also stated that God long revealed to him that a compulsory holiday was imminent while describing the COVID-19 outbreak as God’s way of showing the world that he (God) is still in control.

“He told me loud and clear that the whole world will be on compulsory holiday. I knew the time the world got close to a compulsory holiday was when there was an attack on the World Trade Centre in America,” Adeboye had said.

“So when he said the whole world is going to be on compulsory holiday, I thought something like that was going to happen as it happened during 9/11. If somebody had prophesied it, when it happens, the Interpol will come and pick up the person and say, ‘you heard about the plot’.”

Festus Keyamo

For Keyamo, a lawyer who doubles as a senior advocate of Nigeria, the outbreak remains a plague God allowed to afflict humans so that they could retrace their steps back to him after a derailment in values.

The minister of state, labour and employment also stated that humans must play their part in the fight against the disease.

“God has allowed COVID-19 to afflict the human race only to redirect our steps back to Him,” he tweeted. We have so distorted God’s Word to suit our own human weaknesses and satisfy our greed, even in supposed Holy Places,” the minister said.

“We should collectively ask for forgiveness and it will all end in praise. Aside from the spiritual angle of this scourge, we must all work and pray. God can only help those who help themselves. Those our recalcitrant pastors must realise this… before it can quickly end in praise.”

Dino Melaye

Just as both clergymen and politicians were weighing in their thoughts about the pandemic, Melaye, a former senator representing Kogi west, had joined the fray, arguing that the outbreak is a sign of end-time long foretold by the doctrine of Christianity.

According to him, the battle against COVID-19 isn’t about face masks or hand sanitisers.

“The Lord is laughing at us in His sour displeasure. I repeat we must apologize to God & repent of our sins. All leaders in Nigeria including me must restitute & reconcile with God. Judgment is neigh. These are signs of the end time,” he had said while referencing biblical excerpts.

“Governments have become gods, individuals have become diabolically arrogant, leaders have become thieves & cabals, citizens have become complacent & greedy, truth has no home on earth again, men of God have become lovers of money, kings can no longer stand for their subjects.”

“This corona period is a sober reflection time, reorganizing and discipline oneself. Most importantly staying attuned to God. We still remember the story in the bible about the tower of Babel.”

Hank Kunnenman

Hank Kunnenman, an American pastor, had similarly described COVID-19 as the spirit of God which the United States would be protected from because Donald Trump’s administration has lived in alignment with his will.

In a video shared on social media, the clergyman, who is a senior pastor of the Lord of Hosts Church, proclaimed: “Listen to the words that I speak to you this moment says the living God, the United States, for I have spoken to you before and I speak to you again.

“I have extended and opened a window of mercy to this nation at this time,” Kunnenman had explained. The virus they speak of, the diagnosis, the fear, my mercy is the quarantine. That shall be greater than what they have spoken to you, United States.

“And because of the administration has aligned with Israel, and because they have sided on the right side of life, life in the womb and outside the womb, therefore I give life to this nation and I give mercy. Do not fear. This virus is the spirit of God.”

As at 10:40 pm on Saturday, Nigeria has 97 confirmed cases of COVID19 with 1 death.



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