Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Oyo State, yesterday, rose from a state executive council meeting in Ibadan and recommended multiple services to churches so that they will not flout the directives of the government that worship centres should operate with 25 percent capacity in a bid to curtail spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
The body also warned that churches with large congregation that would find it difficult to control traffic of persons should not open yet so that the efforts that have been put in place by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19 would not be rubbished.
The CAN chairman in the state, Joshua Akinyemiju, gave the recommendations when he briefed journalists after the executive meeting held at the association’s state secretariat, Ijokodo, Ibadan.
Governor Seyi Makinde had, on Monday, said: “Mosques and churches are to reopen and operate at not more than 25 percent capacity. The situation will be reviewed within the first two weeks. All worshippers are to compulsorily wear face masks.”
The CAN chairman also tasked the leadership of various churches and denominations to ensure their congregants wear face masks and hand gloves during services, adding that other necessary precautionary measures such as hand washing and use of hand sanitisers should be made compulsory.
Akinyemiju, who said the hand gloves should be given to each person coming into the church, also said the gloves should be collected after each service, and be burnt immediately.
Meanwhile, the state branch of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has kicked against the state government’s plan to reopen schools and worship centres, amid growing COVID-19 cases.
The association, in a statement jointly signed by its Chairman and General Secretary, Akin Sodipo and Oluwaseun Adebayo respectively, described the government’s decision as surprising and unexpected.
The government had, on June 15, directed primary six pupils as well as JSS III and SSS III students to resume classes from June 29, and that religious centres should reopen at 25 percent capacity.
“The NMA, being a critical stakeholder in the war against the pandemic, has been following closely the progression of the disease and its attendant morbidities and modalities within the state and the country at large.
“We can conveniently say from the statistics at hand that these decisions, although with good intentions, may not be safe for the pupils and indeed, the citizens at large, at this time that the disease appears to be on the increase.
“The NMA is, therefore, using this medium to appeal to the governor to reconsider the opening of the schools and also probably put a cap on the number of congregants at religious gathering for now, to help us study the trend of the disease for a little while,” the NMA said.