The Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AFAW) has attacked Apostle Johnson Suleman of the Omega Fire Ministry, for demanding that government allow pastors into isolation centers to pray for coronavirus patients.
Apostle Suleman had on Saturday said that those with the gift of divine healing need to be given permission, to visit isolation centres and heal people with the killer virus.
Suleman claimed that such measures are needed if the country hopes to make meaningful progress in the fight against the novel disease.
“Please (referring to the government) permit us to go and pray for COVID-19 patients. Allow us to go there (isolation centres), that is why there are men of God.
“If you are really anointed to pray for the sick, this is the time because what is holding the world is sickness. So, we’re begging the government to permit us into isolation centres, that is the only way we can reduce this nonsense because it will improve every day.
“There are people with the gift of healing, God has gifted them to pray for the sick. It is not fake, gimmick or arranged. It is there in them. Permit us so that we can prove there are prophets in Nigeria.”
“Permit us so that the ridicule and all that can reduce. We’re not telling you we can heal all of them but by the time we are through with them, you’ll see a significant difference. If they are 20 before, at least 18 will be cleared because that is what God can do,” he said.
However, in a statement on Sunday morning, the founder of the Nigerian Humanist Movement, Leo Igwe called for the sanctioning of Apostle Suleman over his recent utterance urging the government to allow pastors into isolation centers so that they could pray for COVID-19 patients.
“At a time that the death toll due to COVID-19 is rising locally and the pandemic is expected to spike in Nigeria in the coming weeks, Suleman’s declaration is very unfortunate.
“In a video that is circulating on social media, Suleman asked the government ‘to permit us, let us go there’ (referring to the isolation centers).
“He noted that persons with the gift of healing existed and ‘two, three’ of them should be allowed to go and pray for the sick at these places.
“Apostle Suleman’s prophetic statement is utterly insensitive and irresponsible and has the potential of undermining the efforts by the government to contain the spread of the virus.
“It is difficult to imagine that any reputable pastor could utter such words at this time. As one of the leading Pentecostal pastors in the country, Suleman should know that many pastors and Christians in Nigeria and beyond look up to him for guidance and direction.
“He should know that his pronouncements have weight, implications, and consequences on public life and public health especially at this time that COVID-19 is ravaging the world.
“Suleman’s statement is misleading because he implied that prayer could heal a COVID-19 patient. Unfortunately, this is not the case. If prayer could heal a person with the Coronavirus, the WHO would have said so.
“Instead, the global health institution has made it clear that there is no cure for Coronavirus at the moment. It has advised people to practice social distancing, washing of hands, and wearing face masks to reduce the infection.
“Allowing pastors into the isolation centers will contravene the WHO guidelines and contribute to the spread of the disease. The WHO has urged against touching infected individuals or having close contact with patients.
“Even if the government denies pastors access to these isolation centers as one expects, such reckless utterances could still jeopardize efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
“Suleman’s statements could get some pastors or believers to try praying or laying hands on COVID-19 patients privately at their homes or churches. Such a move could accelerate the infection as it did in South Korea.
“So, NCDC should sanction Apostle Suleman and send a strong warning to other pastors and clerics who could still be under the illusion that prayer could heal COVID-19 patients.”