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Covid-19 lockdown: Cross River govt lifts ban on religious gatherings

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By Joseph Kingston, Calabar

Few days after the Dr. Omobolanle Olowu-led federal government COVID-19 team commended Cross River government for taking steps on time to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the state, Governor Ben Ayade has lifted ban on religious gatherings.

Recall that the team, which was made up of officials from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Federal Ministry of Health (FMH) and the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA), had on Monday said the Governor deserved accolades for his proactive approach in the COVID-19 fight.

A statement signed by Christian Ita, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the Governor said the suspension would come into effect from Sunday, May 24, 2020, but warned that COVID-19 protocols should not be ignored during such gatherings.

The statement read in part: “His Excellency, Sir Ben Ayade KSJI, the Governor of Cross River State, is very grateful to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), archbishops, bishops, priests, pastors, Christians of various denominations, and the entire Muslim community for their support and cooperation during the period of suspension of public worship in our state in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

“His Excellency acknowledges that the understanding and cooperation of religious leaders contributed immensely in keeping our state Coronavirus free thus far.

“However, conscious of the spiritual economy, and in response to appeals by religious leaders in our state, His Excellency has issued the following executive orders: The order suspending public worship in the state, is hereby lifted with effect from Sunday May 24, 2020.

“Consequently, starting from Sunday, May 24, 2020, church services are permitted but should be limited to the sitting capacity of the church. Same applies to mosques. Use of nose mask is compulsory for all worshipers.

“Churches and mosques should provide buckets for hand washing, or sanitizers. Churches and mosques are advised to strictly keep to the above instructions. The enforcement team will still go around to check compliance.”

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