Governor David Umahi Thursday partially lifted ban on religious activities, giving churches in the state time to conduct Easter service between 8am to 12 noon from Sunday.
This was made known to Journalists during a joint press briefing by 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 on the outcome of the State Executive Council meeting in Abakaliki.
Fr Nwali while explaining the reason for lifting of the ban said, “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 is the highest celebration among Christians all over the world.
The lifting of the ban on Sunday Church worship according to him had some restriction attached to it.
“Council warned that the service must start at exactly 8am and must end at 12 noon. Any church that remained open at a minute past 12 noon would be sealed by the State government, the Clergy in charge of the church will be arrested, prosecuted and if possible jailed,” he said.
Speaking on the social distance policy , of not having more than 50 members in a particular service as was earlier directed by government, he said, “the State Executive Council in its magnanimity allowed the different church to have their full church service.
“The anti COVID 19 taskforce set up by government would monitor the directive to ensure its compliance and subsequently churches would observe their Sunday services between the stipulated periods”.
On his part, Barr. Orji noted that the EXCO at its meeting approved the sum of N1b for the procurement of palliative measures.
Explaining the measures, he said, “400,000 bags of 5KG rice, production of 400,000 face masks, purchase of other food items to be distributed to vulnerable persons in the state.
“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.
“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,”.