Cross River State governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has directed security agencies in the state to arrest religious leaders violating the restriction on large gatherings in the state.
The governor in a statement issued by his Special Adviser Media and Publicity, Christian Ita, on Saturday.
Ayade had declared ban on large gatherings including religious homes to contain the coronavirus pandemic in the state.
The order was contained in a statement issued late Saturday by the governor’s Special Adviser Media and Publicity, Christian Ita.
“It is sad to note that in spite of the untiring efforts of the state government to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus into the state, some religious bodies have elected to violate the ban on large gathering by conducting services in their churches/worship centres.
“It has also been observed that most churches have now adjusted their service time to the early hours of the morning and now holding services between 5am and 7am every Sunday as well as weekly activities with over 20 worshipers and for a duration longer than 30 minutes without nose masks.
“Government views this act by leaders of such churches who ought to be dependable partners in the fight against the pandemic, as an affront.
“Governor Ben Ayade seriously frowns at this development and hereby directs law enforcement agencies to ensure strict enforcement of the COVID -19 laid down preventive measures by arresting for prosecution any religious leader who violates the ban on large gatherings by conducting service/mass and have their worship centres permanently sealed as from tomorrow, April 26, 2020″, the statement said.