Churches in Jos and environs have complied with the Plateau State Government safety measures to curtail the spread of Coronavirus in the state.
A Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria who visited some of the churches in Jos reports that most of them have complied with the directives of not more than 50 persons per religious gathering, while many others suspended church services completely.
NAN reports that Governor Simon Lalong had on Tuesday prohibited church gatherings of more than 50 persons.
The governor also directed the closure of shops and Sunday market, except those selling foodstuff, drugs and medical supplies.
Lalong also directed workers on Grade Levels 1 to 12 to stay at home, except those on essential services, and asked that all religious gatherings should not have more than 50 persons.
The Headquarters of Church of Christ in Nations, its affiliates in Dadin kowa, Hwolshe, Building materials and Bukuru Low-cost had canceled Church services, and asked members to meet in praying groups of not more than 50 persons in their various communities.
An elder church member in Dadin kowa, Da Jonah Mahanan, told NAN that the decision was to curtail movements of people from their immediate communities to another.
Mahanan noted that the restrictions on large gatherings would go a long way to contain the spread of the virus.
He said: “We have decided to cancel Church services as a measure to curb the spread of the virus among us and as law abiding citizens too.
“Government directed Church service should not be more than 50 persons.
“We asked our members to meet in their immediate communities to pray for few minutes and depart instead of all us gathering in the Church.
“We believe that restricting movements is one best way to prevent spread of the virus.”
On his part, Rev. Father Anthony Fom, the Parish Priest of St Theresa’s Catholic Church, Jos, told NAN that the Church has increased its number of masses in order to accommodate members based on the directives of government.
According to him, most parishes in the Jos Archdiocese have adopted the same style of worship to be in tune with government’s directives.
Fom said: “As Catholics, we are law abiding citizens and respect and support the decision of government on 50 people attending religious gatherings as a measure to curtail the spread of Coronavirus in the state.
“This is we have started masses since Saturday evening and have increased the number of masses to accommodate our members.
“For instance, in this parish, we have increased number of masses from four to 10 and it must be 50 persons per each mass.
“Some of these masses are held simultaneously.”
Fom said the parish has been sensitising its members on the need to observe personal hygiene through regular hand washing and avoid crowded places.
NAN reports that it is a similar scenario at Church of Assumption Chongo’Pyeng; St Mary’s Hwolshe; Church of Immaculate Conception, Zarmangada; St Finbers’ Rayfield; St Monica’s Rantiya, all in Jos.
NAN also reports that the busy Sunday Terminus Market was empty sequel to the suspension of trading activities in the market.
A NAN check at the market at about 8:30am showed that second hand clothing shops were closed, while only those selling food items opened their doors to customers.
Armed security personnel were deployed to the market to enforce compliance with government’s directives on closure of the market.