Okowa meets religious leaders, reach social distancing agreement

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The Delta State Government met religious leaders on Wednesday with an agreement not to allow more than 50 worshipers at a time in any church or mosque in the state.

The religious leaders also agreed to keep at least, a distance of six feet apart from each worshiper to avoid contacts and to keep the spread of coronavirus.

Mr Charles Aniagwu, the State Commissioner for Information said that the decision was from the meeting of the State Task Force on Covid-19.

He said that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Muslim groups in the state, all held meeting on Tuesday, in Asaba, Guardian reports.

He said that the state government was concerned about the health of residents and therefore directed that not more than 50 persons should be allowed in a worship centre across the state.

“For quite some time now the governor has taken decisions and proactive steps with a view to ensuring that we are not caught napping with respect to the COVID-19 ravaging the country and international community.

“What we have done today is in furtherance to the precautionary measures. The Governor felt there is a need to consult with religious groups to help in maintaining the precaution put in place.

“After the meeting with the bodies, the government has agreed that on no account should any of the religious groups gather more than 50 persons at a time.

“This is because we believe that there is a need to practice social distancing and we are praying that as we make progress, we will have cause to review some of these decisions.

“But we are praying that the state remains as safe as it is now. You know that there is no case of COVID-19 in Delta,” he said.

He further said that “We have also made it known to them that they should try through other means to communicate to their members to try as much as possible to observe all the behaviours that we have rightly pointed out before now.

“These are regular washing of hands, sanitising as much as possible and also maintaining a very clear distance among and within people,” Aniagwu explained.

In his remark, Chairman CAN, Delta Chapter, Apostle Sylvanus Okorote, said that the meeting was about control and prevention because the pandemic had no cure for now.

“Everybody has to keep himself. First, social distancing was agreed upon and it is the most important aspect of it, at least six feet in between persons and no shaking of hands.

“As for church service, we agreed actually to reduce the church service as much as possible down below 50 persons per service.

“We will do further consultations and we could even ask people to pray from home because it might come to that. But, we thank God that we don’t have a case yet in Delta,” he said.

The State Leader, the Muslim community, Alhaji Auwalu Tukur, thanked Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa for his proactive steps in leading the state.

He assured that decisions reached at the meeting would be implemented to the latter to ensure that the virus did not spread to the state.

“We have agreed that we should not be more than 50 people in the mosque during any Jumat service and we will abide by what the government has said.

“The Governor has been up-and-doing since the outbreak of the virus and we will do everything possible to support the state by enlightening our members on the need to maintain personal hygiene at all times,” he said.