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Ekiti CAN rejects guidelines for churches’ reopening

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CHRISTIAN Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Ekiti has expressed dissatisfaction over conditions stipulated by government for reopening of worship centres in the state.

  This is sequel to last week’s directive of Governor Kayode Fayemi, who ordered that churches and mosques across the state be reopened from August 14.

Governor Fayemi had, in a statewide broadcast last Thursday, declared that from all indications, churches and mosques in Ekiti have substantially complied with provision of some COVID-19 precautionary facilities and said they were allowed to begin operations on Friday, August 14.

  But outlining the conditions that were attached to reopening, Fayemi said: “The protocols also indicate that there should be no multiple services, and services must be concluded within two hours while children below 12 years of age and elderly people above 65 are not allowed to attend until further notice.

  “An attendance register must be provided by each worship centre for record purposes. For avoidance of doubt, only Friday Jumat for Muslims, Saturday Sabbath for Adventists and Sunday Services for other Christian denominations are allowed. Weekly and vigil services are not to hold in the meantime.”

  Speaking with journalists in Ado-Ekiti, yesterday, Ekiti CAN Chairman, Peter Olowolafe, said the debarring of people below ages 12 and those above 65 from coming to church was too strict a condition that can guarantee smooth take off of churches.

  “For now, we don’t have any particular reaction. The governor has spoken and therefore, all Christians in Ekiti abide by that. We are preparing to make sure we reopen on that day so that the Christians will continue to demonstrate to the state that we are disciplined people. We are trying as much as possible to abide with the conditions, but we are not pleased with the conditions.  Like leaving the children and the people above 65 at home.

It is risky leaving children at home. It is like telling the parents not to come. If the children are not coming, it means their parents will not come, that is the implication; and worshipping on Sunday, just a single service, there is nothing that stops us from having multiple services. Even in Lagos State, which is the epicentre of the coronavirus in Nigeria, the governor has opened the church and they can have multiple services,” he said.

  On what will be the next move of the Christian body, Olowolafe said: “We want to start and see how things are so that we can call for review after a close observation of the experience and the conditions.

  “For now, we are not calling for any review or any meeting or writing any letter or rejoinder. We are not writing anything. We want to observe everything first, by second week, we believe, by then, we will have enough fact and we will make comparison with other states, especially Lagos that is the epicentre of coronavirus in the country.

  “And it appears that there will be no more new cases in Ekiti so that will help us to justify that review,” he said.

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