The Benue State branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria has recommended the suspension of all Sunday worship and wedding activities in the state as a proactive measure against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
In a message by its state Chairman, Rev. Akpen Leva, on Thursday in Makurdi, the association appealed to churches to comply with the recommendation to curtail the spread of the pandemic.
Leva said the recommended suspension would take effect from April 1 and enjoined all churches to cooperate.
The message, titled: “The Reality of Covid-19: A call for strict compliance,” the association appealed to proprietors of mission-based schools to adhere to the directive for the closure of schools by the state government.
It said: “It has become very pertinent for me to address you today concerning the reality of COVID-19 Pandemic which has brought the world to unavoidable panic.
“The rate at which it is spreading therefore calls for real collaboration and unity of purpose to ensure we curtail further spread among our people.
“In this regard, we urge all church leaders, clergymen and the Christian community in Benue State to duly observe the following adjustments we have made regarding our Christian activities.
“Considering the importance of the week long fasting and prayer session organized by CAN in conjunction with the state government, which is to round up on 29th March, 2020, we wish to say that with effect from 1st April, 2020, we will encourage churches to enforce smaller units of congregational worships of not more than 50 people.
“We also recommend the suspension of Sunday services and Mass for the next two weeks to monitor the situation. Christians are encouraged to continue with home devotions, Crusades, conventions, revivals, vigils, refresher courses.
Leva said other activities that involved coming together of large congregation should be discouraged for the benefit of the residents of the state.
He said: “Burials should be restricted to only close family members of the deceased. Weddings and social celebrations are to be suspended until the situation improves.
“We urge you to observe strictly the health conditions as prescribed by Centre for Disease Control and World Health Organization (NCDC). In this regard, you are advised to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
“Personal protective equipment including hand sanitizers, face masks, hand washing fonts with liquid soap dispensers to be provided. Thus, hand sanitizers should be handy at every church entrance.
“We appeal to all church leaders to ensure that this information gets to the grassroots and also ensure strict compliance. Ensure the vulnerable are not abandoned at this time and beyond.
“Finally, we appeal to the standing committee on COVID-19 and the state government to cooperate with the church by providing the needful so that we can effectively control the spread of COVID-19 in Benue state.”