Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Christians in Akure, the Ondo State capital and other towns in the state yesterday stayed indoor in compliance with the state government’s directive banning church gathering and other social activities within the state.
Most churches were under lock in many of the towns visited by Daily Sun, even as some individuals held service at their various homes and other centres in their neighbourhood.
In Akure, all major churches, including the provincial of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, located along Oyemekun Road, the state headquarters of the Living Faith Church along Ondo Road, Catholic Church Cathedral and the Methodist Church Cathedral at Gbogi area were under lock.
Men of the special task force put in place by the state government were also said to be monitoring the level of compliance by churches as they moved round major churches in the state.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu had, on Friday, declared that the state government would not allow any church or mosque to hold any service pending the time the dreaded corona virus disease will end.
He said the government will also ban traditional festivals, especially Egungun, which is already being celebrated in some towns in the state.
It was however gathered that members of the Living Faith Church converged on the various home cell centres across the state to hold the Sunday service in compliance with the directive from the President and Founder of the church, David Oyedepo
Meanwhile, several churches in Osogbo metropolis, Osun State, yesterday complied with the government directive banning public gatherings.
Secretary to the State Government, Wole Oyebamiji, on Saturday, in a statement, ordered an outright ban of all public gatherings in the state as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“This in effect means there will be no church services tomorrow, March 22, 2020,” Oyebamiji said.
At the Living Faith Church, Oke-Onitea, Osogbo, the church was under lock while all the three services of the church were suspended.
A member of the church, Yomi Adebayo, said all members were directed to attend house fellowship close to them.
The situation was not different at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Breakthrough Parish, Ogo-Oluwa, Osogbo, with the two Sunday services suspended.
Also at Celestial Church, Osogbo 1 Cathedral, Igbonna, members of the church were seen returning home.
Christ the King Baptist Church, along Ladipo Street, Ogo-Oluwa, Osogbo, as well as Eternal Sacred Order of Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Igbonna, were also shut for services.
But some churches that initially defied the government’s directive had their services interrupted by security operatives.
Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Afolabi Babawale, Osun command, told newsmen that officers of the corps were out to enforce the state government’s directive.
In a related development, Ekiti State Police Command has urged the people to abide by government’s directive restricting public gatherings to 20 persons till further notice.
The command said any person caught violating the directive would be arrested and prosecuted.
In a statement, yesterday in Ado-Ekiti, Commissioner of Police, Amba Asuquo, through the command’s Public Relations Officer, Sunday Abutu, urged residents to adhere strictly to the directive and warned that erring persons would be dealt with accordingly.
“Henceforth, all public gatherings, be it political, social, religious, night clubs or bars that exceed 20 people, are prohibited.
“Any group of persons, who violate the new order, shall be arrested and prosecuted,” the command said in the statement.