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The Ondo state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked its members to attend Easter Sunday services across the state amidst COVID-19 lockdown.
In a communiqué issued at a stakeholders’ meeting signed by the CAN Chairman, Reverend John Oladapo said social distancing order would be observed.
The Communiqué says the meeting was called to review the current situation in the state and rub minds on how to hold Easter Sunday worship service as graciously permitted by Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
The CAN leadership also agreed to adhere to hand washing with soap, water and sanitizers and also directed that break services to limit crowd; 20 people in a small Church building, 50 in a medium size while big and cathedrals must maintain 3 congregants on a pew.
The communiqué also says that easter services will hold between 7a.m. and 12noon on Sunday, warning that nobody should post the church services on social media.
ONDO GOVT CLARIFIES SITUATION
However, the state government has clarified the permission granted the state chapter of CAN.
In a Press Release, the state Commissioner for information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo said, “the State acknowledges concerns expressed in many quarters in respect of the above subject matter. This is especially in relation to the last Government Statement on the sustenance of the anti-COVID 19 measures put in place vis a vis the public statement issued by the Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN) on same.
“Government deems it necessary to clarify that much as it appreciates public concern over this matter, there is no need for any misgivings. As a matter of fact, the position of CAN and the Government Statement should be seen as mutually inclusive.
“CAN’s statement is explicit enough that Government had graciously granted a special relief to enable Christians celebrate Easter Sunday, being one of the most important annual celebrations of the Church. That is the true position; more so that the word ‘restriction’ advisedly applied to provide the caveat for this special concession in line with crowd control regulations.”
Accordingly, the State Government has already communicated to the Ondo State Police Command, this concession granted CAN to, as it were, temporise and allow the celebration of Easter Sunday in CHURCHES.
Ojogo noted that, “this is, however, without prejudice to all precautionary measures and guidelines earlier put in place to contain the spread of the pandemic as enunciated in Government’s earlier statements and as agreed to by the leadership of CAN.
“For emphasis, there will be no Easter Retreat (Good Friday Programmes) or the Jumat service gatherings on Friday or ‘Gallilee’ on Monday. The ban on all social, political and religious gatherings continues afterwards, until further notice,” Ojogo said.