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"Observe Covid - 19 policy, state Laws" Umahi to Religious leaders.

By Mbam Ogodo, Abakaliki
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Ebonyi state government has cautioned religious leaders to ensure that re-opening of worship centres would be under strict observance of COVID-19 policy and State laws.

This is following the lift of ban on religious worship after more than a month that churches, mosques and other religious centers have remained locked.

Commissioner for Information and State Orientation and Acting Commissioner, Human Capital Development and Monitoring, Bar. Orji Uchenna Orji in a statement said the lifting of ban is to take effect from 15th May, 2020 and will have religious centres conduct their worship once a week.

Bar. Orji also said that the waiver was in response to the passionate appeal made by the Leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ebonyi State Chapter.

According to the Commissioner, other bodies that made the appeal for the re-opening of Religious Centers includes, some Revered Bishops among other clergy.

He also said that the Governor after having prayerfully reviewed the request and in consultation with state leaders, “directed that religious centres in the state do re-open for worship once a week, effective from 15th May, 2020 under attendant conditions.”

According to the Commissioner, the reopening is coming with various conditions which he said includes that all Churches are to observe their service only on Sundays from 9am to 11 am.

“That Seventh Day Adventist and Muslim faithful are to observe their service on Saturdays and Fridays 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 statement urged all Religious bodies in the state to use the 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 the 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.”