CROSS THE RIVER
The worship service at the Mount Zion Life Full Gospel Church located at Number 1 Atimbo Road in Calabar did not observe any COVID-19 protocol. The church was packed with many people standing.
It has a capacity of 800 people, but an influx of visitors who came to support those who celebrated various events with their family and friends outnumbered the church members. For example, a couple who only got married on January 1 came for Thanksgiving with their admirers while the family of The Nation state correspondent Mr. Gill Nsa also celebrated the first anniversary. of their mother’s death with a large number of friends and family members coming together to support them.
In addition, there were a number of people who were raised to various ministerial positions and officially received “the right hand of the brotherhood” and they all came with their admirers.
However, no social distancing was observed and no one was seen wearing a face mask. Despite the crowds, everyone was seated nearby as there were barely enough chairs to go around.
Audits around some churches in some communities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have shown that the government’s directive that worship centers should limit attendance to 50% of their capacity has been grossly disobeyed.
Many worship centers within the community of Kobi, a suburb of Guzape district, not only failed to comply with the directive, but also ignored non-pharmaceutical protocols for wearing face masks and washing hands.
The faithful of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, and the community Assemblies of God were unaware of the devastating pandemic.
The story was the same in the churches of ECWA and COCIN, except that some devotees had masks hanging from their jaws. A devotee of the ECWA church who did not want his name mentioned, even doubted that the pandemic was still active in the country.
According to the middle-aged man, COVID-19 that now exists is “a policy variant that helps the government justify the money it collects from donor agencies.”
In another part of the capital, and following the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, places of worship in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have stepped up the application of security protocols.
During the 10 a.m. mass, celebrated by the Emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, our correspondent observed that inside the church, social distancing was strictly observed because the number of people per bench was reduced.
Only three worshipers were allowed to sit on a seat originally intended for eight people.
Contrary to the federal government directive that churches across the country should join at 50 percent of their capacity, many churches in Kaduna state and surrounding areas have not strictly adhered to the directive.
The New Telegraph, however, found that many churches were not full as many worshipers had traveled for the holiday season, especially the New Year’s celebration.
In the southern part of the state where the majority of churches were located in the metropolis of Kaduna, our correspondent could not identify whether any of the churches had announced to its members the need to limit attendance. At the Liberty Outreach Center, in the Ungwan Pama district of Kaduna,
Chikun local government area, many worshipers have just gathered in the church without restrictions. However, one of the church members told our correspondent that even though they were aware of the coronavirus, the church did not have the population and crowd to worry about the coronavirus pandemic.
Also at Christ’s water source ministries in the Sabon Tasha area of the Kaduna metropolis, the church continued its services regardless of the direction of the federal government.
Our correspondent located many people leaving the church premises without being disturbed by any protocol. Efforts to speak with one of the church employees were unsuccessful as he said they were unaware of the federal government’s directive, “It is only God who protects,” he said. he replied rhetorically.
Churches in Enugu Metropolis registered half of their capacity as most worshipers traveled to villages and other places to observe the holidays. For example, at the Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Enugu yesterday, half of the seats were empty. At the Saint-Joseph Catholic Church,
Emene, Enugu, the situation was the same as the church was saving half of its capacity as most of the congregation had traveled for vacation.
At Living Faith Church, aka Winners Chapel, in Winers Way, Ogui New Layout, Enugu, the church saw low attendance from worshipers. Our correspondent observed that most churches which used to have three services before now resort to having only one service during the Christmas period.
A Catholic devotee, Mr Ralph Onyebuchi, who has not traveled for the holidays, told our correspondent that his church had witnessed half of its capacity since Christmas Day.
“You cannot use this time to see whether or not churches are meeting their 50% capacity, as most people have traveled during this time because of the Christmas and New Year holidays.” I suspect churches in villages will be filled to the brim due to the high number of returnees. “
The Kwara State government failed to enforce the federal government’s directive on protocol guidelines 50 percent in state churches. In fact, the state’s COVID-19 technical committee has not issued any statement in this regard. To the C&S Church Movement,
Muritala Mohammed Way, Ilorin, the church was packed. In addition, there was not sufficient spacing between the limbs and there was also no disinfectant for limb use, while a very insignificant number wore face masks.
It was the same at The WordAssembly, along OffaGarage Road, Ilorin.
The church was operating at full capacity. In addition, other protocol guidelines such as the use of disinfectant, face masks were totally ignored. When our correspondent sent a Whatsapp message to Rafiu Ajakaye, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s chief press secretary, who is also the publicity secretary of the state’s COVID-19 technical committee, on this disturbing issue, he did not ‘did not respond until the time of filing. this report.
Most churches in Akure, the capital of Ondo state, have flouted the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) directive on COVID-19 to restrict indoor religious gatherings to 50%.
While monitoring the situation in the Akure metropolis, New Telegraph observed that being the first Sunday in 2022, more worshipers showed up for the service than on previous Sundays.
At the Church of the Apostolic Christ (Oke Itura), Akure’s Oyemekun Axis, the church was packed with worshipers but adhered to the 50% restriction order. During this time, on each bench, three people were allowed to sit because the church effectively ensured the spacing between the faithful.
In addition, more than half of the church used face masks while church officials who were stationed at the entrance to the church made sure that worshipers washed their hands with water and soap. soap provided before being allowed to enter the church.
At the Redeemed Christian Church of God (Faith Tabernacle) in Oba-Ile, the church not only had over 50% congregation, but it partly flouted COVID-19 public health protocols.
In church, the use of face masks was not strictly enforced as was the use of hand sanitizer.
In Niger state, Christians who had their first Sunday service failed to observe COVID-19 social distancing protocols as members and worshipers gathered in large numbers to attend the New Year’s service.
At St. Michael’s Catholic Cathedral in Minna, some worshipers who attended the service wore face masks while others remained outside throughout the service. The 50 percent capacity was not met.
At St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral in Minna, worshipers did not observe COVID-19 protocols except for a few who wore their face masks.
Although the layout of the sessions has changed, in some areas members were grouped together.
When our correspondent spoke with the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Mathias Echioda, he said Christians can go to churches to attend their services but should try as much as possible to ” observe COVID-19 protocols.
In Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa state, churches celebrated their services as usual. Of course, Bayelsa state has not been so obsessed with this COVID-19 case as the state has not recorded many deaths due to the seriousness the state government attached to it. ‘era.
Even though the state government was battling the virus with a human face, people were allowed to move around without a hitch.
People were allowed to do their normal business even though other states were locked down.
At Dunamis Church, Yenagoa branch, the second service was packed as church members observed their services without any problem. There was no sign of compliance with COVID-19 protocols by the time this reporter arrived at the church.
A church member who declined to comment asked if this reporter wanted to hear something from him.