Christians in parts of Borno on Sunday attended Church congregations to celebrate this year’s Easter in defiance of lockdown order to prevent further spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
A check conducted in Maiduguri metropolis by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) revealed that most churches visited, including New GRA, Post Office, Wulari, Bulumkutu and Polo areas, have remained open for services.
The churches include Christian Church Maiduguri, First Baptist Church, EYN Church Maiduguri, Living Faith Church, Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri and Saint Patrick Catholic Church.
NAN reports that some of the churches directed their members to attend service in spite of the lockdown order by the federal, state and local governments on adherence to social distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Mr Simon Jude, a worshipper at Saint Patrick Catholic Catholic Church, said thousands of people have been turning up in many churches so that people can seek refuge and true healing.
Jude said that the prevailing circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak in other parts of the country necessitated the need for everyone to pray to seek divine intervention.
Mr Julius Emmanuel, another worshipper, however said that the congregation were divided into four while the social distancing restriction was strictly adhered to.
Emmanuel said that the worshippers were encouraged to use hand sanitisers and wash their hands properly before coming into the church.
“The church service was divided into different sessions to include between 5 a.m and 6.30 a.m.; 7.30 a.m and 9.30 a.m while during the evening, the congregation open at about 4.30 p.m. and run till 6.30 p.m.,” he said.
NAN reports that churches like Christian Church Maiduguri, First Baptist Church, EYN Church Maiduguri, Living Faith Church, recorded low turnout of worshippers as some of them worshipped at home.
However, Mr Godwin Abdul, a worshipper at First Baptist Church, said the church recorded low turnout of worshippers as many members of the church prayed from home.
Abdul said: “In compliance with government directive of social distancing, many residents marked services in their respective homes.”
Mrs Esther Chukwuma, another worshipper, told NAN that she had preferred to stay at home to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Chukwuma said that the only way to curb the spread is to abide by the rules which included self isolation, social distancing and best hygiene practices.
She urged the clergy to find alternatives to discourage their congregations from gathering in Churches.
NAN also reports that Mosques, Churches, markets and clubs have remained open in Maiduguri in breach of the lockdown order to contain COVID-19 pandemic in country.