President Muhammadu Buhari’s social media aide, Lauretta Onochie has said that the new restrictions placed on worship centres were necessitated by public safety concerns and not to deprive churches of tithes and offerings.
Recall that the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 had on Monday imposed five weeks restriction on large gathering.
PTF Chairman, Boss Mustapha said that President Muhammadu Buhari authorised the PTF to engage with the states and FCT to deploy legal structures and resources, including enforcement, to manage the pandemic within their jurisdictions.
The fresh directives, which affects churches, followed the official declaration of the second wave of COVID-19 in the country.
He said, “In line with the authorisation, the PTF wishes to issue the following advisories to sub-national entities for implementation over the next five weeks, because these activities are considered super spreader events.
“Close all bars, night clubs, pubs and event centres, and recreational venues.
“Close all restaurants, except those providing services to hotel residents; takeaways, home deliveries and drive-ins shall remain closed.
“Restrict all informal and formal festivity including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars and sporting activities.
“End of year events shall be restricted to not more than 50 people.
“Limit all gatherings linked to religious events to less than 50 per cent capacity of the facility of use during which physical distancing, mandatory use of face masks shall be strictly enforced.
“Where more than 50 persons are attending, any such event, the gathering should be held outdoors only.”
Reacting, Onochie said that the matter was a “matter of life and death”.
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“This is not an evil government trying to take the joy off of Christmas.
“It’s not a way of denying church leaders their offerings and tithes.
It’s not the government denying us the opportunity of seeing our families whom we have not seen for a while.
“This is not about Islam versus Christianity. Coronavirus has no religion,” Onochie stated.