Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, has reviewed the restrictions on church activities increasing the number of worshipers during any religious session from 50 to 70 persons.
The Governor also said he was working out modalities to determine the exact number of Muslims that should participate in Friday prayers.
Wike spoke on Tuesday when he met with religious leaders at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
He said his administration would never take decisions to review existing restrictions on the modes of religious gatherings without inputs from religious leaders.
He observed that since 23rd of March 2020 when he met with them to endorse the existing restrictions, there had been decline in the spiritual life of the people.
The Governor, however, commended them for complying with the directive of 50 persons per worship session and the maintenance of COVID-19 protocols.
He promised that his administration would provide palliatives to religious organisations through their umbrella bodies.
Wike said even if many people criticised him when he closed borders of the state, the strategy was later emulated by other states.
The Governor said that most people still did not believe in the reality of the pandemic and continued to behave in manner that endangered the lives of others.
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He enjoined the religious leaders to use their positions to enlighten their members to know that the pandemic was real.
He frowned at banks, supermarkets, shopping malls and other institutions for allowing people to enter their premises without wearing their facemasks and warned that government would not hesitate to seal such premises.
Wike explained that the N10 million fine against anybody violating his Executive Order on burials was not to enrich the government but to deter people from flouting the guidelines.
Speaking for the Muslim 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 continued to seek the input of religious leaders.
Bishop, Diocese of Evo Anglican communion who spoke for the Christian Council of Nigeria commended the governor for the sincere and honest manner he was fighting 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.
Credit: The Nation