In Oyo State, churches have reopened after three months of closure. The lock down was as a result of the ban which government placed on religious gatherings.
The State Government had placed a ban in March on religious gathering as part of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus disease.
However, the government declared recently that churches and mosques in the state could reopen with some guidelines.
It further directed that religious centers must operate at not more than 25 per cent capacity. In addition, face masks must be put on throughout the service among other measures.
NAN correspondent paid a visit to some churches in Ibadan on Sunday. The churches include the Winners Chapel and Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) among others. The correspondent observed that the churches maintained the guidelines set by the government.
Satisfactory level of compliance
In addition, the churches provided buckets of running water and liquid soaps at entry points for members to wash their hands before and after the service.
Some of the churches had previously fumigated their environments. Also, all members were observed to be putting on face masks as sitting arrangements for social distancing was put in place.
According to NAN, some of the churches conducted multiple numbers of services so as to facilitate social distancing. Moreover, church officials checked members’ temperature with thermometer before they stepped into the church.
Furthermore, Apostle Joshua Akinyemiju, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Chairman in Oyo state, admonished churches to maintain the guidelines set by the government.
While giving credit the governor for permitting churches to worship, he said Christians must make efforts to abide by all the government’s guidelines to that effect.
“We should remember that the Bible enjoins us in Hebrew 13:17, to obey those that have the rule over us.
“Now that government has lifted ban on religious centers with conditions attached, it behooves us, as religious leaders, to ensure absolute compliance to protect government from being blamed for its leniency,’’ Akinyemiju said.
Similarly, Pastor Vincent Ajiboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Jesus Assembly Parish, Ibadan, , thanked God and the government for the privilege to reopen churches.
“It’s good really to open in phases because of all we have gone through.
“Our church is open and to the glory of God we are fully prepared.
“May the lord see us through in Jesus name, amen,’’ Ajiboye prayed.
A devoted Christian, Mr Ademola Ilori, confessed his gratitude to God for the opportunity to worship at church again.
He said: “We thank the government also for this, but we will appreciate them to increase the time/hours given for churches to operate, so as to enable us express our profound gratitude and service to God,’’