The Ebonyi State Governor Chief David Umahi has lifted the ban for Christians across the state to conduct church service between 8am to 12 noon from Easter Sunday.
The State Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Barr Uchenna Orji and the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Religious and Welfare Matters, Rev Fr Abraham Nwali made the disclosure in a joint press briefing on the outcome of the State Executive Council EXCO meeting in Abakaliki.
The Senior Special Assistant who took his turn to explain the reason for the lifting of the ban said that government decided to lift the ban following an appeal by the Christian Association of Nigeria CAN to allow Christians to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday which he said is the highest celebration among Christians all over the world.
Rev Far Nwali stated that the lifting of the ban on Sunday Church worship came with some level of restriction pointed that the Council warned that the service must start at exactly 8am and must end at 12 noon.
He said that any church to still be open at a minute past 12 noon would be sealed by the State government, the Cleagy in charge of the church arrested, prosecuted and if possible jailed.
On the social distance policy and not having more than 50 members in a particular service as earlier directed by government, Rev Fr Nwali noted that the State Executive Council in its magnanimity allowed the different church to have their full church service and it’s entire population worship God.
The Catholic clergy however stated that no member of any church must attend the church service without a face mask using either clean handkerchief, disposable medical facemask or a clean head tie with a running water station at the entrance of the churches.
Rev Fr. Nwali who is also the Ebonyi State Chairman of CAN said that the anti COVID 19 taskforce set up by government would monitor the directive to ensure its compliance pointing out that after Sunday Easter service, subsequently churches would observe their Sunday services between the stipulated period.
In its part, the State Commissioner for Information and State Orientation and Acting Commissioner for Human Capital Development and Monitoring, Barr Uchenna Orji said that EXCO during the meeting also approved the sum of N1b for the procurement of 400000 bags of 5KG rice, production of 400000 face masks, purchase of other food items to be distributed to vulnerable persons in the state as palliative.
He noted that the Ebonyi State Rice Production Company has been mandated to ensure the production of the rice for onward distribution to the people as they celebrate the Easter period.
Barr Orji noted that the State government through the different committee at the ward, development centers, LGAs and State level would soon come up with a list of those that would benefit from the palliative.
He assured that the selection and distribution of the palliative would be credible and meet the targeted persons in the society noting that government is also expecting the citizens of the state to benefit from the conditional self transfer policy of the Federal government.
He said that the State Executive Council has also lifted the ban on burial ceremonies starting from today till the 20th of this month adding that anyone who intends to bury their loved ones must first notify the ministry of information and State Orientation for approval and supervision.
Barr Orji said that such burial ceremonies must only have in attendance not more than 20 members of the immediate family who must also wear facemask and ensure provision of running water for washing of hands and sanitizers.
Meanwhile other religious leaders in the State has commended the State Governor, Chief David Umahi for the bold step taken to allow Christians worship God at their different churches from Sunday and called on other state Governors to emulate such good gesture.