Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has thanked Christian faithful for complying with the directive of maintaining social distance during church service to check the spread of coronavirus.
He also said the safety of lives and property of people is important to his administration.
Wike said this when he addressed journalists after he led members of a task force on enforcement of the ban on public and religious gatherings, to monitor compliance yesterday.
He said the churches ensured each service had about 50 worshippers as agreed during a meeting at Government House, Port Harcourt.
The governor, accompanied by the service commanders, monitored compliance at some of the churches, including 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.
The team moved through Corpus Christi, Port Harcourt, Living Faith Church, Kaduna Street, D-Line and churches on Aggrey Road in Port Harcourt.
The task force noted that the churches visited had running water, soap and hand sanitizers to disinfect worshippers before and after service.
“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,” he said.
Governor Wike earlier met with religious leaders at the Government House, where it was resolved that no church service should exceed 50 persons.
“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 the government is taking,” he said.
He urged churches to ensure social distancing of about 50 persons, who worship at a particular time.
The governor advised religious groups to spread out their worship time to admit fewer people per time.