There have been controversies among Nigerians over a viral video showing a Catholic pastor mandating members of his church to either present their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) at the door of the church or return home.
The pastor who presides over a congregation in a Catholic school said he had initially warned his members to get their PVCs ahead of the 2023 General Elections so that they will keep having access to the house of God.
He explained further that aside from being denied access to the church, any students of the school that fail to get their PVC will get automatic carry over.
In his words, he said: “…we have already discussed this with the school management that any student that does not have his/her PVC will automatically have carryover.
“And beginning from today, if you do not have your PVC, you cannot enter this chapel and celebrate with us,” he added.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has set June 30, 2022, as the deadline for continuous voter registration ahead of the 2023 general elections. The fast-approaching deadline has led to a rush by citizens to enrol in major cities of the country.
Several efforts have been made by the Government, activists, NGOs, as well as international bodies to sensitize citizens to enrol for their PVCs.
On Sunday, the video of the catholic pastor asking his members to leave the church if they do not have PVCs went viral on the internet.
While some supported the action of the pastor, saying all churches in Nigeria should adopt the approach, some others described the action as not justified in the religion.
It was argued by some Nigerians that it is wrong for the pastor to send worshippers home because of PVCs as it is not a prerequisite to accessing the place of worship. “There’s a better way of going about this like the church organizing a centre for their members to get a PVC, not telling them not to come to church if they don’t have,” Nuchi a Nigerian man noted on social media.
Another user who supported the pastor’s decision said Nigerians are found of praying and will not vote. He said: “You come to church every day to pray for Good governance, good leaders and yet you are nonchalant and refuse to do the work to actualize that, is that not foolishness… I am in support of this.”
Several reactions monitored by Intel Region revealed that the pastor’s decision became a controversial topic on Sunday. Some described the action as a democratic dictatorship, saying that the church does not have the justification to deny worshippers access to the church because of PVC.
See some reactions below: “This is bullshit support whoever you like but doing this is out of it like seriously what does politics have to do with serving God and his church,” Diamond wrote on Twitter.
“You can’t tell people not to come to Church if they don’t have PVC. Encourage them to get registered and VOTE FOR WHO THEY WANT. The House of God is not a place to play politics. Stop supporting what is not right,” Elijah wrote.
Okay! This is not cool. Not even in the house of God for Christ’s sake. Encourage them to get their PVC and not chase them out of the house of God. Most persons came to worship God with their hearts,” Ebuka wrote.
Nigeria and extremism, we just like taking things to the extreme. I’m very sure no informed church would do this, those who are not ready to drop their tithe and offerings would find a ready excuse to skip church,” Temmy wrote.
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