After two days of uncertainty, the Delta State Police Command and the Christian Association of Nigeria CAN, Delta State Chapter, on Saturday confirmed that churches in the state are now free to conduct services from Sunday, May 3, 2020.
Real-Time24 gathered that the Police Public Relations Officer PPRO of the State Command, DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya and the State CAN Chairman, Sylvanus Okorote, advised churches to adhere strictly to the approved guidelines or risk being prosecuted.
The confirmation of re-opening of churches by the Police and CAN aligns with the statement circulated by the State Secretary of CAN, Rev. Wisdom Madukwe, on social media platforms shortly after a meeting with the State governor in Asaba.
In the statement, Rev. Madukwe said, “I am directed to inform you that at the end of our meeting with the Governor on 30/04/2020 opening of church worship was granted as follows:
“1. Effective: 3rd May, 2020.
“2. Duration of service: 2 hours.
“3. Days of service per week: one each on Sundays & Wednesdays.
“4. No. of Worshippers per Service: 100 man capacity hall = 20 worshippers; 200 capacity hall = 50 worshippers; 500 capacity & above =100 worshippers (Maximum)
“Hand washing, use of sanitizers & social distance of 6ft between seats, use of nose mask by all worshippers must be observed. No handshakes, no hugging.
“Heads of blocs and local government areas coordinators, to disseminate this information to every Pastor within their jurisdiction.”
The State governor had on Thursday held a meeting with some religious leaders in the state with a view to chatting the way forward after he announced on Tuesday the relaxation of the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sources told Real-Time24 that after the meeting which held behind closed doors, the Secretary to the State Government SSG, Mr Chiedu Ebie and the State Information Commissioner, Mr Charles Aniagwu, both declined to brief the press nor issued a statement; thereby leaving the people of the state in doubt on the outcome of the meeting.