By Okafor Ofiebor
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 on Thursday, Governor Nyesom Wike said the directive also permitted the Muslim Community to observe their Jumat 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 gathering, as follows:
“Friday 10th April 2020 – all Muslim faithful should observe Jumat 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 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.”
Wike stated that all other restrictions remained.
“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.
Wike said all the measures implemented by the Rivers State Government since March 24, 2020 to check the spread of coronavirus had yielded results.
He said: “Most of these measures, including, the restrictions on religious assemblies above fifty persons, were targeted at avoiding mingling, 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.”