* Mosques also to operate fully on Friday
By Codratus Godson
Gov Nyesom Wike of Rivers State threw a kind gesture to the religious communities in the state asking them to freely congregate on Friday and Sunday for worship but most of them said ‘thank you’ but asked their members to stay away from worship centres.
The Catholic Church, Redeem, and some others asked their members to stay home to avoid crowded places.
The Rivers State Government has temporarily relaxed the restrictions on large religious gatherings to enable Christians carry out their religious obligations during the Easter Period.
In a State Broadcast in Port Harcourt, Gov Wike said the directive also permits the Muslim Community to observe their Jumaat Prayers within the period.
He said: “In the Spirit of Easter therefore, and after a careful review of the state of COVID 19 situation in our State, we have decided to temporarily relax the restriction on large religious gathe
“Friday 10th April 2020 – all Moslem faithfuls should observe Juma’at prayers in their mosques or prayer grounds throughout the State and pray for the peace, forgiveness and the blessings of Allah upon the State.
“Sunday 12th April 2020 – all Christians should have Easter Church Services with their full congregation and pray to God to forgive us of our sins, continue to intervene in our affairs and protect the State and our people from the Coronavirus.
” For the avoidance of doubt, the relaxation on mass religious gathering is limited only to the afore-mentioned respective dates.”
Governor Wike stated that all other restrictions remain.
“All other restrictions, including the closure of markets, night-clubs, cinemas, beer parlours, public burials, weddings, parks as well as the closure of our air, land, and sea routes into the State, shall remain in force until further notice.
“Once again, thank you for your support and cooperation as we work collectively to keep our dear Rivers State safe and secure from Coronavirus and other afflictions”, he said.
” I wish you all a happy Easter celebration, while trusting on your prayers for God to heal our land and see us through.”
Governor Wike said all the measures implemented by the Rivers State Government since March 24, 2020 to check the spread of coronavirus have yielded results.
He said: Most of these measures, including the restrictions on religious assemblies above fifty persons, were targeted at avoiding comingling, maintaining social distancing and ensuring that the State and its citizens are free from COVID 19. From all assessments, it is going well with our State and we are grateful to God for His mercies and protection.
” We are also grateful for the strong public support and I just want to say thank you for your kind understanding in the midst of the troubles you are made to endure at these trying times.”
The Rivers State Governor added that all measures have implemented with no harm intended for any group.
He said: ” As a Government, our conscience is clear and we intended no harm whatsoever to anybody. All the measures we have taken so far, and all that we have done are in the best interest of our State and for the general good of our people.
“We have no other choice but to fight this mass killer virus with all of our might and every weapon and resource at our disposal, less we all perish, for our inactions and indiscretions.
“Let me appeal to you to continue to hold on to our hopes and prayers; as we are at the moment the envy of many other States for the way God has helped us to keep COVID 19 away from our State.”
The Catholic Church in Port Harcourt said they would rather obey the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN). The Muslims in Rivers Stat said they got orders from their national headquarters to stay away.