– Abuja, A’Ibom, Osun residents, others attend Church services en masse
Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Metropolitan See, Most Reverend Ignatius Kaigama has commended the relaxation of restrictions on worship centres due to COVID-19, stressing that worshipping God through online platforms was deficient.
Kaigama insisted that the spiritual approach was a core element of winning the war against the coronavirus disease, which could not be excluded, assuring Nigerians of God’s intervention in the COVID-19 crisis now that the ban on worship centres has been lifted.
Speaking at the Holy Cross Catholic Church, Gwarinpa in Abuja, Kaigama, who was received by the Parish Priest, Reverend Father Rowland Nwakpuda, pointed out that Federal Government’s initial resolve to focus solely on medical and scientific approaches in fighting COVID-19, discarding the spiritual aspect had not been helpful.
Vice-Chairman, Parish Pastoral Council (PPC), Paul Agi, maintained that there was a difference between worshipping physically in a Church and following up through online broadcasts.
Agi stressed that the opening of Churches and other places of worship was a commendable step in addressing the spiritual aspects of life even amid the coronavirus pandemic.
President of the Catholic Women Organisation (CWO), Mrs. Kate Ukpo, stated that as an active wing of the Church, women would take the lead in providing protection and adhering to social distancing.
In Osun State, Churches complied with the COVID-19 guidelines for religious gatherings, as they opened for services that witnessed an impressive turnout by hitherto spiritually starved members.
Worshippers wore face masks and maintained physical distancing in Churches in Ile-Ife and its environs.
Pastor Mathew Adejumo of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), Ife District Coordinating Council (DCC), said he was grateful to God for making it possible for Christians to congregate again to praise and worship Him.
Besides, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Akwa Ibom State, Reverend Ndueso Ekwere and Chairman Committee for Monitoring of Churches, Enobong Uwah, scored churches 80 per cent of compliance to the guidelines for the conduct of services under the COVID-19 guidelines.
They commended the level of compliance of Churches to safety guidelines as they re-opened for worship yesterday and the government for re-opening Churches, saying the joint monitoring team visited no fewer than 25 Churches to ascertain if congregants adhered strictly to safety guidelines for worship during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Churches reopened in Kwara State with Christians attending services in their droves after lockdown of about three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but with full compliance with safety protocols.
The state COVID-19 Technical Team, headed by Deputy Governor, Kayode Alabi, had late last week after a meeting with Christian and Muslim leaders, lifted the ban on worship but with stringent conditions.
While the Islamic leaders said Mosques should remain closed, especially during Friday Jumat services, citing an inability to meet government’s directives, Christian leaders said Churches that could meet the conditions could open for worship.