Rivers State Government Reviews Guidelines On Religious Worship

The Rivers State government on Tuesday said it increased the number of worshippers during church services in the state from 50 to 70 in what is the step towards review of modalities for public religious worship.

Governor Nyesom Wike disclosed this
during a meeting with religious leaders at Government House, Port Harcourt as part of decisions reached at the meeting.

A statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, noted that modalities were also being worked out for Moslem congregational worship.

The statement quoted Wike as saying his administration did not want to review mode of public worship without the input of religious leaders.

According to him, since the last meeting with them on 23rd March, 2020 when the existing restrictions were collectively endorsed, the spiritual lives of the people had declined because they could not meet to pray and build their faith daily as they ought to do.

The governor commended the religious leaders for complying with the initial directive of 50 persons per worship session and the maintenance of COVID-19 advisories.

“He noted that the continual prayers they have made for the state have provided spiritual strength,” the statement said.

“The governor assured that his administration would provide palliatives to religious organisations through their umbrella organisations.

“Governor Wike said even if many people criticised him when he closed down the borders of the state, the strategy has been emulated by other states.

“The governor stated that most people still do not believe in the reality of the pandemic and have continued to behave in manner that endanger the lives of others.

“He enjoined the religious leaders to use their positions to enlighten their members to know that the pandemic which has been claiming lives is real.”

Furthermore, the statement disclosed that the Rivers governor frowned at banks, supermarkets, shopping malls and other institutions that have continued to allow people to enter their premises without wearing their facemasks.

He warned that government would not hesitate to seal such premises should the practice continue.

“On the Executive Order on burials, Governor Wike said the N10 million fine imposed for defaulters is not to enrich government but to deter people from flouting the guidelines.”

Speaking for the Moslem community, the Public Relations Officer of Rivers State Islamic Affairs, Murtala Bamidele reaffirmed their determination to continue to cooperate with the state government to stem the spread of coronavirus in the state.

In his remarks on behalf of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Dr. Soibi Dagogo Jack, noted that Rivers State was the only state where the governor has continued to consult religious leaders.

Bishop, Diocese of Evo Anglican communion, Innocent Okechukwu Ordu, who spoke for the Christian Council of Nigeria commended the governor for the sincere and honest manner he has fought to save lives.

He pledged that the religious community would continue to support the State government’s strategies aimed at reducing the spread of the virus.

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