Churches in some parts of Lagos State on Sunday, recorded partial compliance to the ban on gathering of not more than 20 people over the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that most churches in Lagos had their normal services while some had adjusted the number of persons and time spent in church.
However, some churches were under lock and key, others had few members attending the Sunday service.
At the St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, NNPC, Ejigbo Rd, the masses were adjusted to seven on hourly bases from 6am to 12 pm and 5pm to 6pm as against the four masses from 6am to 1pm and 5pm to 6.30pm.
A parishioner, Mrs Agnes Awudi said there were masses but was adjusted hourly because of the Coronavirus directive and ban on number of persons at gatherings.
Awudi said it was the size of the church that made the church to reduce it to hourly mass.
She said there was a quite number of spaces among the parishioners and the mode of greeting during mass had changed.
NAN reports that there were not too many people in church as against the number of people that used to attend the services. .
At the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Tree of Righteousness Parish, Jakande Estate, Oke Afa, Isolo, the church service was adjusted to 50 person per service.
NAN reports that although the church was scanty, there was service going on and there was quite large spacing between worshippers.
A worshiper, Miss Yinka Anifaloyin, said that she was in church at her normal time of worship by 10am but was not allowed in due to the fact that the number had completed 50.
Anifaloyin however attributed the low turnout to online mode of worship put in place by the church’s headquarters.
She said that it all depended on your faith, whether to attend church or not.
At the Christ for All Mission church, Oke-Afa, isolo, worshippers were seen in their numbers having their normal Sunday service.
At St. Michael Catholic Church, Biola, Ketu, the gate was under lock and key with a notice that there would be no service till further notice.
One of the faithful standing outside the church, Mr Emmanuel Egwu, said that the measure was part of efforts to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
”Once the Bishop gives an order, the whole Catholic church will obey. This measure, l believe is for our own good, individually and collectively.
”If the restriction will help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus among us, l am in support of it,” he said.
NAN reports that the security personnel and the Church security were seen around explaining the situation to the faithful, while some members were given the church bulletin for the week to use for prayer and reading at home.
Also at The World of Life Bible Church Headquarters, Baptists Upper Room, Foursquare Gospel Church Headquarters, Oladele Street, Ketu, Methodist Church, The Apostolic Churches and Christ Apostolic Church Headquarters showed that the churches were having services with few members in attendance.
At Christ Apostolic Headquarters, the security man at the gate, explained that in line with the state government’s directive, the Administrative Secretary had distributed letters and posted it on the Church platform directing faithful to stay at home.
”However, those living near by are allowed to be in groups of 20 and do their prayers since the church premises is big,” the security man said.
At the Apostolic Church, one of the faithful, said members started arriving early and were holding church services in batches of not more than 20 persons, as directed by the state government.
”I am just coming out from the second service and we are not more than 20 as directed by the government.
”If they come out, another 20 will go in, until those that will come to service are attended to. Each service does not last up to 30 minutes,” he said.
At The Apostolic Church Zonal Headquarters, CAC Close, Ketu, services were on going with few people inside the church.
Common to all the Churches with their doors open for services was the provision of water and soaps to wash hands and hand sanitisers, before going into the church.
The State Government had ban religion gathering of people more than 20.
Most Churches had directed their various parishes not to hold services from March 22, until the order from government was reversed.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) also issued a directive, urging the faithful to stay at home and pray.
However, in some of the new generations Churches visited, it was business as usual as they hold their services not complying with the directive for churches to restrict services.
NAN reports that the state government had earlier issued a new directive bringing down the maximum number of people that could gather at religious or social purposes to just 20 from its initial 50.
The directive became imperative after a parley with religious leaders, both Muslims and Christians and placed a ban on the religious gathering of over 50 people, while urging that the directive was complied with in order to curb the spread of the deadly virus in the state. (NAN)