By Taiwo Okanlawon
The founder of the Humanist Association of Nigeria (HAN), Leo Igwe, has lambasted Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church, a.k.a Winners Chapel, over his claim of healing some coronavirus patients through prayer.
Oyedepo during a sermon on Sunday disclosed that his church had recorded 114 COVID-19 healings.
He said the above number had publicly testified of being healed from COVID-19.
But Mr. Igwe in a statement stated that Oyedepo’s claim could do more harm than good by making people to throw caution to the wind and indulging in risky behaviors believing that their faith would heal them if they get infected by the dreaded disease.
“The claim is weighty, reckless, and irresponsible,” Igwe said.
According to him, the World Health Organisation, WHO, has maintained that there is no cure for the virus at the moment and has outlined preventive measures.
Igwe noted that the cleric’s healing claim goes contrary to the directives and positions of the WHO.
“His faith healing claim is capable of making people throw caution to the wind, indulge in risky behaviors while believing that their faith would heal them if they contract the virus,” he added.
“This faith healing claim by Oyedepo is a piece of misinformation because faith healing is superstition- not a science-based proposition.
“There is no evidence that anybody could be healed of coronavirus as Oyedepo. Unfortunately, this faith healing report from Winners’ church was not balanced and did not contain any perspective from the NCDC, or the health ministry, or a public health expert.
“This faith-healing claim has the potential of misleading the public, especially at a time of so much fear, panic, and uncertainty over the spread and cure of COVID-19.
“The lockdown has adversely affected the religious market. But the way to get the authorities to lift the ban on public gathering in churches is not to spread lies and misinformation about COVID-19 as Oyedepo has done.
“COVID-19 constitutes a public health challenge, and church leaders should be mindful of the claims that they make.”
Meanwhile, Lagos and other State governments have insisted that worship centres would remain closed, as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
However, the Federal Government had ordered partial lockdown ease of worship centres across the country.