CHURCHES across Katsina State defied the government’s lockdown and suspension of mass gatherings today and held their usual Sunday services putting their congregations at risk of contracting the dreaded coronavirus.
Katsina State has nine confirmed cases of coronavirus, including the deceased index case, a medical doctor who was the proprietor of a clinic in Daura. To stem the spread the state government introduced a ban on church and mosque services as part of its social distancing restrictions.
On April 16, Governor Aminu Masari suspended the weekly Friday congregational prayers and the annual Ramadan public Tafsir and Taraweeh prayers at all mosques across the state. It was assumed that churches would follow the lead and not congregate too but alas today, men, women and children were seen in their churches as early as 8.30 am.
At the Evangelical Church Winning All in Babbar Ruga, hundreds of worshippers were seen coming out of the church after the Sunday service and taking of the Holy Communion, despite the state government’s directive on gatherings of not more than 50 persons. Also, at the Living Faith Church, also known as Winners Chapel, a popular church in Katsina metropolis, a service held, although worshipers observed the social distancing laws during the service.
One of the worshippers, John Chukwu, said: “We held our normal service today but a seat that used to occupy about eight people, was only occupied by only four members after thoroughly screening.”
Reverend Nelson Onyekachukwu, the Chairman of the Katsina State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, said: “For now, the state government has not instructed us not to hold our services. Nobody has given me any information and that is why we are holding our services but I can assure you that if there is any directive, we will comply.”