COVID-19: Why govt at all levels must revive our health care system —Prophet Abiara

Former General Evangelist of the Christ Apostolic Church, Worldwide, and renowned cleric, Prophet Samuel K. Abiara, in this interview NIGERIAN TRIBUNE, speaks on the effect of the COVID-19 on the church and what the government must do.

Almost the entire world is currently feeling the heat of the coronavirus pandemic. Is it true that God wants to use it to evacuate the earth as some people have claimed?

The Bible does not put us in darkness. When Jesus was on earth, the disciples went to Him and asked what would be the end of this age and the second coming. In Matthew 24:3, He answered them that the end will come; you will see war and some very serious incidents; earthquake and he said there will be great epidemic all over. He said sins would be rampant and the fake Jesus and fake prophets will arise and deceive the saints. Jesus has said it and we are already experiencing the events of the end time. What the Bible said is happening now and the rate at which people want to get money now is unbearable. But I want to tell the whole world not to be afraid of the pandemic as it will vanish just as it came. God is just using it as a warning for the world. It is not a new thing; there have been pandemic outbreaks that have come and gone. We must rely on what the Bible says.  The pandemic will disappear into thin air.

What is your take on the measures some leaders, especially Nigerian leaders have taken to contain the situation?

The leaders of all nations are concerned about the effect of the virus, especially on the people and this shows that they value the lives and well-being of their citizens. They are trying but that is not the solution. In Isaiah 45: 7: He said, “I created light and darkness, peace and evil, I am the same God…” When this happens, we must go to Him in prayers, repent, ask for forgiveness and seek His face for mercy so that the pandemic will vanish. Jesus Christ and prayer is the solution. This pandemic is just a storm and through prayers it will be conquered. To ban religious organisations is the right step and we must comply, but it is not the solution. We must obey the government. If God closes the door, no one can shut it, so I want to encourage the world to face God and not elevate and fear coronavirus; God is the most powerful. We are ready to support the government, especially through our prayers. We are in a position to curse the virus to vanish. What the government has put in place will not stop us from praying; we will comply with their directives but we will not stop praying. I want to urge all the pastors and Christians to continue to curse the virus. Jesus said we will see diseases and tribulations, problems, so we should not be afraid as we shall overcome.

As God’s general did God reveal this to you beforehand?

This started before January. We are not in a position to embarrass the world. We are praying for the whole world, but when you tell them that something is coming they will not believe you, so, we decided not to scare people of any strange revelation and hence I continued to seek God’s face for intervention. So, instead, I organised several prayer programmes and prayed for people for divine protection in all ramifications.

With the situation around the world, especially in Nigeria, people are in panic mode, what is the way forward?

John 14:1 says, “Do not let your heart be troubled.” We must not fear at all. The only weapon the devil has is the spirit of fear. Jesus said: “Do not let your heart be troubled for anything. In Isaiah 43:2: “When you pass through the water, I will be with you, your troubles will not overwhelm you, when you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you”. So, my advice to people is that they should not panic. The virus can never kill them; inasmuch as they shun sin and move closer to God. This virus will soon become history. Everyone should put their minds at rest.

How as the experience been since the social distancing directive, especially in church operation?

Since government’s directive, we have adopted a new method to connect with members, as well as boost their spiritual lives as well as encourage people to constantly pray for the nation over the virus.  Our online platform, especially Facebook has been very active.

Naturally, this will affect a lot of programmes. What will this cost the Church?

God owns the Church. God also put the government in the position and they make the rule. When you attack the government, you attack God. God owns the church so He will know how to handle everything. The development will affect the church. It will definitely affect the church when it is difficult for people to gather in the church as usual.

Some have claimed that the reason many clerics are frowning on government’s directive is because of the financial means of the Church, mostly the tithes and offerings, how true is this?

It is not a problem at all. Money is not a barrier for some pastors. The salvation of souls is their priority. Money is there to run the Church. God brought money out of the mouth of the fish; God can use one person to bless the Church. God knows how He will help the church. Pastors should not fret about this, but obey first and see how God will reward them. God is aware of what is going on. God is the most powerful and He is warning us. We should pray. Whoever deems it fit to make any routine donation to the Church at this trying time can do it through any means the Church has put in place. It should be individual’s conviction.

Before now, the people in power had sought medical care overseas but now the reality is staring us in the face. What lesson should we learn in terms of ensuring that Nigeria is self-sufficient in the area of healthcare so that when issues like this come up, we will not be embarrassed?

This is a lesson for the government. They have to improve on our health sector and to equip our primary health centres. This is a sign for our government to put sophisticated equipment in our hospitals. The effect of COVID-19 is an eye-opener. Our health sector needs to be revived and it must be world standard. We cannot afford to lose lives on trivial health issues. Government at all levels must do the needful to invigorate our health care system. This is the best way to show that we value lives dearly.
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