By Nwogha Ndubuisi Andy
Ebonyi State government led by Engr. David Umahi on Friday 15 May,2020 lifted ban on Church Service in the State and called religious leaders to maintain the World Health Organization’s directives while they henceforth, hold activities only on Sundays.
In a release made available to the public by the Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, and Ag Human Capital Development and Monitoring, Hon. (Barr) Orji Uchenna Orji said the order was based on the appeal made by leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN), while called them to maintain Covid-19 law to help curtail the disease spread.
The statement reads thus, “The Governor of Ebonyi State, His Excellency Engr. Chief David Nweze Umahi FNSE FNATE has directed me to inform the general public that In response to the passionate appeal made by the Leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ebonyi State Chapter and some of our revered Bishops that Religious Centres be re-opened for worship under strict observance of COVID-19 policy and State laws, and having prayerfully reviewed the request and in consultation with state leaders, he hereby directs that religious centres in the state do re-open for worship once a week effective from 15th May, 2020 under the following conditions:
“All Churches are to observe their service only on Sunday from 9am to 11 am.
Seventh Day Adventist and Muslim faithfuls are to observe their service on Saturday and Friday respectively from 9 am – 11 am”.
“No Religious Centre shall permit more than 500 people and worshipers shall observe a minimum of 2 meters social distancing from one another”.
“Wearing of facemasks, washing of hands with running water and use of hand sanitizers must be strictly observed in all religious centres”.
“No religious service is allowed to hold any other day other than the days specified herein and which must be in strict observance of all COVID-19 Laws and regulations
“Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN) has a duty to close down any religious gathering and arrest the principal of the worship centre that violates this order”.
“The Governor requests all Religious bodies in the state to use this opportunity of window of worship to create awareness among their members on the protocols, policies, laws and regulations regarding COVID-19 and to pray for our dear State and Nigeria”.
“They are also enjoined to use the opportunity to advise their members to aggressively participate in agriculture and other lawful means of livelihood”.
“CAN leadership and Anti- COVID-19 Committee on Religious Centres are requested to please mount strict monitoring of all religious centres in the state and ensure strict compliance and discipline among them”.
“Please be assured always of the Governor’s unwavering commitment to the course of our people.”