The Abia State Government has declared two days intra-state free movement for Christians to celebrate the Easter.
In a statement issued today by Chris Ezem, Secretary to the State Government, SSG, who also doubles as the chairman of the COVID-19 Committee in the state, the two days – Good Friday and Easter Sunday – was to enable residents shop and perform other religious activities in commemoration to the Easter celebration.
The statement said that parishioners of various denominations, including their Muslim counterparts were free to attend Friday and Sunday services in their various denominations.
However, people should wear their face masks and also maintain 1.5m government-approved social distance mark.
The statement reads:
“In view of the impending Easter Celebrations, the Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, PhD has magnanimously approved a relaxation of the extended 7 Day Lockdown in the State.
“Accordingly, there would be free movement of people within the State ONLY between the hours of 6 am on Friday, April 10(Good Friday) and 2pm on Sunday, April 12(Easter Sunday),2020.
“Accordingly, religious worshipers shall be free to worship at their various churches and mosques but must compulsorily observe the following guidelines –
“Not more than 50 persons per stream of worship and a social distance of 1.5m must be maintained.
“All worshipers MUST wear face mask.
“Churches and Mosques MUST provide a minimum of 4 points for hand washing with running water and soap.
“Hand sanitizers MUST also be provided at different points for the use of intending worshipers.
“The State and Local Government Enforcement Teams and Security Operatives shall continue to move around to ensure strict compliance.
“Governor Okezie Ikpeazu hereby enjoins all religious to use this period to pray for God’s intervention and mercy upon our dear State Abia, our nation Nigeria and the entire world over this dreaded pandemic.
“It must be clearly understood that this relaxation order DOES NOT extend to public gatherings such as burial ceremonies, weddings, meetings, clubbing, etc. The initial order on these activities remains valid and subsisting.
“All our State borders remain closed and Security Operatives must continue to ensure strict compliance.
“All public places allowed to operate like Supermarkets and Malls MUST NOT entertain more than 10 persons at a time subject to differences in size and must maintain minimum STANDARDS of hygiene by providing hand washing materials, sanitizers and digital thermometers.
“Government shall immediately shut down any business concern that flouts these directives.
“The Governor urges all Abians, as a matter of collective responsibility, to be vigilant at all times and report any suspected case of COVID-19 around their environs.
“Finally, the 7 -day extension shall continue from 3 pm on Sunday, April 12 to Friday, April 17, 2020.
“Government appreciates Ndi Abia, all front line Service Providers, and all those on Essential Services for their support and sacrifice at this difficult period and encourages all and sundry to continue to support the Government fight against the pandemic by complying with all professional advice, safety tips and government directives throughout this period.”