Tunde Bakare, overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church, formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly, says he is not ready to open the worship centre and endanger the lives of his members.
On Thursday, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos, announced that religious activities would resume in the state after the federal government lifted the ban on religious gatherings across the country.
He said while Muslims would return to mosques on June 19, Christian worship would begin on June 21.
But in a message delivered on Saturday, Bakare said religious leaders were putting pressure on the government to open places of worship despite the increasing rate of COVID-19 transmission.
“I’m so sorry for our country at this juncture. I’m so sorry that we are pressurising the government to open churches and to open Mosques. You want calamity upon calamity. The church has not been closed; nobody can close the church,” Bakare said.
“Yes, it is true that buildings are closed but the church is marching on. No one can close the church. Government can shut down the buildings; they cannot force us to go back because I’m not going to endanger the lives of our people.
“Noah did not jump out of the ark. He sent the raven first to test the ground. The raven never returned. He sent the duck twice. On the third occasion, it did not return. He knew it was safe to go out but he still stayed there until God said, Noah, come out.
“He locked him in and He brought him out. Let’s be patient. And they now want to start carrying people to their gravesides and be praying for their families. Let’s stay within until that time when the calamity is over.”
On Friday, Chris Okotie, founder of the Household of God Church, also rejected guidelines for reopening worship centres, saying his church remains closed.
In May, Bakare donated three church buildings to the Lagos and Ogun governments as COVID-19 isolation centres.