Leo Igwe, founder of the Humanist Association of Nigeria (HAN) has ‘knocked’ Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church, a.k.a Winners Chapel, over his claim of healing some coronavirus patients through prayer.
Recall that Oyedepo 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. He spoke during his sermon at the church’s headquarters.
But Mr. Igwe believes 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 in a statement he made available to Newspot on Wednesday.
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.”
Recall that Prophet T. B. Joshua of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, had recently declared readiness to virtually pray for COVID-19 patients in isolation centres in Nigeria and other countries.
In an announcement on Tuesday, Joshua called on government and medical authorities to “organize those who are in isolation” and “arrange how to connect them to us”.
The cleric noted that “the blessing of Jesus is for those who knock and ask”.
He told everyone that in whatever way they support to make the intercession happen, “we are a team; we are not doing more than you”.
Meanwhile, Lagos and other State governments have insisted that worship centres would remain closed.
This was part of measure 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.