Kaduna CAN writes el-Rufai, wants churches to reopen

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna State chapter, has written Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai appealing to him to reopen churches as they have adopted 18 points operational guidelines in line with COVID-19 protocols.

The letter signed by the Kaduna State CAN Chairman, Reverend Joseph Hayab was addressed to the state Deputy Governor, Hajiya Hadiza Balarabe who doubles as the state chairman of the COVID-19 committee on Friday.

The statement said, “it appreciates the tireless efforts of the State Government through the State Standing Committee on COVID-19, given the incredible work being done to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in Kaduna State.

“Our Association notes with high regards the various recommendations and steps taken by the state government through the Standing Committee towards finding a lasting solution to the spread of the pandemic which is judged to be credible and commendable by reasonable citizens of the state.

“The state government through the recommendations of your Standing Committee had made Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and in your recent review announced Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as days of relaxing lockdown.

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“We are anticipating that your future adjustment of relaxing of the lockdown will take into consideration days for religious worship.

“In view of the above, we wish to forward to you our suggested guidelines for worship regulations in accordance with the protocol of COVID-19.” It said.

“Churches will disinfect their premises first before they are re-opened for services.

“Churches will provide alcoholic based sanitizers, temperature readers, soap and water in their premises to be supervised by medical professionals in the Church.

“Every worshipper must either use soap to wash their hands or apply sanitizers.

“The temperature of every worshipper must be taken before admission into the church and people with the high temperature will not be allowed into the church but be advised to go and see their doctors.

“Every worshipper must wear a facemask.

“Worship leaders shall be made to wear hand cloves if they are to handle equipment such as the microphone.

“Worship leaders shall put on a face mask to cover their mouth and nose when they speak through the microphone.

“Worshippers shall be required to avoid joining public transport, therefore, shall be enjoined to worship near home, within walking distance.

“Worshippers who have to travel far to church will be enjoined to make use of personal means of transport.

“Alternatively, Churches would be enjoined to provide transport for members without means of transport in adherence to the social distancing rules.

“Social distancing will be observed in the sitting arrangement with a one-meter gap between two worshippers.

“Every worship service shall not exceed one hour. There will be a gap of 25 or 30 minutes between one service and another where there are multiple services to avoid the crowd.

“Churches can make use of classrooms and multipurpose halls for services where available, especially in big churches to accommodate more worshippers at a go. TV circuit and speakers can be used for those who are not inside the main auditorium.” The letter read.

Others are that “Handshaking and hugging shall be avoided before, during and after the service.

“Churches observing Holy Communion service will use separate cups for each participant.

“CAN in the State and Local Government branches will constitute a committee together with law enforcement agencies in their area to enforce full compliance. Such civilian compliance officials should be given backing by the governments to apprehend those who contravene the worship regulations and hand them over to law enforcement agents.

“Prayers will be offered to God for a speedy end of COVID-19 and quick recovery of all that are afflicted by the pandemic. Prayers will also be offered for those frontline workers for divine protection.”

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