Sunday, March 29, 2020 4:35 pm
Rivers Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike on Sunday led the monitoring of compliance of churches to the directive on ban of large gathering by the State government.
Rivers State Government had directed that there should not be any public gathering with over 50 people in the State to ensure social distancing.
After the monitoring exercise, he expressed appreciation to the Christian Faithful across Rivers State for complying with the directive of maintaining social distance during church service to check the spread of coronavirus.
Addressing journalists after he led the Task Force on Enforcement of the Ban on Public and Religious Gatherings to monitor compliance on Sunday, Governor Wike said that the churches ensured that each service had about 50 worshippers as agreed during the meeting at Government House, Port Harcourt.
Governor Wike accompanied by the Service Commanders monitored compliance at the Saint Thomas Anglican Church, Mile Two Diobu, Saint John’s Anglican Church, Rumueme Deanery, Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, Rumuepirikom Deanery, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Rumuapara District, Abundant Life Evangel Mission Cathedral.
They also monitored compliance at the Saint Andrews Anglican Church, Rumuobiokani, Saint Michael’s Anglican Church, Rumuomasi Deanery, the Eternal Sacred Order of Cherubim and Seraphim, Mount of Grace, Elekahia, Saint Barnabas Anglican Church, Elekahia Archdeaconry, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Diobu.
The team moved through Corpus Christi, Port Harcourt, Living Faith Church, Kaduna Street, D-Line and Churches on Aggrey Road in Port Harcourt.
All the churches visited had running water, soap and hand sanitizers to disinfect worshipers before and after service.
Governor Wike said: “The compliance is very much appreciated, except for two churches that did not completely comply. Saint Thomas Anglican Church and Holy Trinity Rumuapara. I have told the pastors that I don’t want to shutdown the two churches.
“In all, we are satisfied with the total compliance. That shows that the people appreciate what we are talking about. For us, the safety of our people remains key. We are happy today.”
“For the two churches that failed to comply, we will review the situation and take action. As you can see, we went to different churches.”
It will be recalled that the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike met with religious leaders at the Government House, Port Harcourt where it was resolved that no Church Service should exceed 50 persons.
He said “This is a trying period. The State Government owes the society a responsibility to protect lives and property.
“This is an interface to inform you of the measures that the State Government is taking.”
He urged the Churches to ensure social distancing of about 50 persons who worship at a particular time.
The Governor advised all religious groups to spread out their worship time to admit fewer people per time.
Our Correspondent who was at Emmanuel Anglican Church,Okoro-Nu-Odo, Deanery, by the popular Rumuokoro Roundabout,Port Harcourtalso observed that the Rector, Venerable Sullivan S.B.Odike, ensured strict compliance of 50 Parishioners per church session. In order to accommodate Parishioners, the services were abridged into 90 minutes (One Hours,30 minutes) per session.
For those who were locked out to wait for the next session, Venerable Odike came outside to appeal for their understanding and sarcrifice because the government meant well for all citizens.
Also, the General Overseer of Omega Power Ministry, Apostle Chibuzor Gift Chinyere, did live streaming on Silverbird radio and Television and Church online channels.
He also closed all branches of OPM till further notice.