The Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province (Anglican Communion) and Bishop of Enugu Anglican Diocese, Most Rev Dr Emmanuel Chukwuma, has denied media reports alleging that he said that “the Province will not shut any of its branches over Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).”
Addressing newsmen at the Government House, Enugu after a closed-meeting with Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Ahmad AbdurRahman, Archbishop Chukwuma, disclosed that he was “very embarrassed to read the story in the newspaper and new media”, stressing that the story was untrue and misleading.
The archbishop stated categorically that he did not dare the government or the security agencies as was erroneously reported. He said: “All 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.”
In his brief remark, the Commissioner of Police, Abdulrahman, expressed delight that Archbishop Chukkwuma has cleared the air, denying the news making the rounds that he dared the government and threatened the police over the closure of churches in the state.
Continuing, Archbishop Chukwuma acknowledged that “it has already been agreed in Enugu State that all churches should be closed down and we have been observing it.”
Declaring his support for the state government’s proactive safety measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, Archbishop Chukwuma maintained that his stance was that the closure of the churches does not mean that bishops and priests cannot go into the church and pray.
The prelate also reiterated that he was misquoted and misinterpreted in the media and encouraged the congregations to remain in their houses and pray.
According to him, “the building may be shut but the church is not closed because people are praying in their various houses but are not allowed to come to the church building to pray, except the priests and the bishops.”
Archbishop Chukwuma stated emphatically that “I never dared the government; I never dared the police and the police never came to me to say stop this or that because I never had any sort of congregational service.
“Therefore, I want to let the people, Nigerians and the whole world to know that it not true that I dared the government or that I dared the police.”
The CP encouraged everybody to obey the preventive protocol and other safety measures adopted to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state, in the overall interest of the public and country.