…says not more than 50 persons to worship at a time
By Festus Ahon
DELTA State Task Force on COVID-19, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN and Muslim groups, yesterday met over the mode of worship, following the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic in some parts of the country.
The State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu who briefed newsmen after the meeting, said the State Government and religious leaders in the state have agreed to enforce social distancing in worship centres across the state.
Aniagwu said the state government was concerned about the health of Deltans and therefore, directed that not more than 50 persons should be allowed in worship centres across the state.
He said: “For quite some time now the Governor has been very busy making decisions and proactive steps with a view to ensuring that we are not caught napping with respect to the COVID-19 ravaging the country and international community.
“What we have done today is in furtherance to the precautionary measures. The Governor today felt there is a need to consult with religious groups – the Muslim community and the Christian community.
“After the meeting with these two bodies, the government has agreed that in the first instance, on no account should any of the religious groups gather more than 50 persons at a time.
“This is because we believe that there is need to practice social distancing and we are praying that as we make progress, we will have cause to review some of these decisions but we are praying that the state remains as safe as it is now. You know that there is no case of COVID-19 in Delta.
“We have also made it known to them that they should try through other means to communicate to their members to try as much as possible to observe all the behaviours that we have rightly pointed out before now.
“These are regular washing of hands, sanitising as much as possible and also maintaining a very clear distance among and within people.
“But, what is more, important is that they have seen the need to observe the different positions of the government with respect to maintaining social distance and not to for any reason, have more than 50 persons congregating in any of their worship centres at a time.
Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Delta Chapter, Apostle Sylvanus Okorote on his part, said the meeting was all about control and prevention because the pandemic had no cure for now.
Okorote said: “Everybody has to keep himself. First, social distancing was agreed upon and it is the most important aspect of it, at least six feet in between persons and no shaking of hands.
“As for church service, we agreed actually to reduce the church service as much as possible down below 50 persons per service.
“We will do further consultations and we could even ask people to pray from home because it might come to that. But, we thank God that we don’t have a case yet in Delta”. Also speaking, leader of the Muslim community in the state, Alhaji Auwalu Tukur, thanked Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for his proactive steps in leading the state.
He assured that decisions reached the meeting would be implemented to the latter to ensure that the virus did not spread to the state.
Tukur said: “We have agreed that we should not be more than 50 people in the mosque during any Jumat service and we will abide by what government has said.
“The Governor has been up-and-doing since the outbreak of the virus and we will do everything possible to support the state by enlightening our members on the need to maintain personal hygiene at all times”.