Churches in Oyo State have reopened after three months of closure due to the ban placed on religious gatherings by the government.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the state government had in March, placed a ban on religious gathering as part of measures to curb the spreading of the novel coronavirus disease.
The government, however, announced recently that churches and mosques in the state could reopen with some guidelines.
It directed that religious centres must operate, at not more than 25 per cent capacity, while wearing facemasks throughout the service among other measures.
The NAN correspondent, who visited some churches including the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and Winners Chapel among others on Sunday in Ibadan, observed that the churches maintained the guidelines set by the government.
It was observed that there were buckets of running water and liquid soaps placed at entry points for members to wash their hands before and after the service.
Some of the churches had earlier fumigated their environments while all members were sighted putting on face masks as sitting arrangements gave room for social distancing.
Some of the churches held multiple numbers of services so as to allow social distancing while thermometers were used to check members’ temperature before they entered the church.
Also, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Chairman in Oyo state, Apostle Joshua Akinyemiju, urged churches to maintain the guidelines set by the government.
“While appreciating the governor for allowing churches to worship, Christians must endeavour to abide by all the government’s guidelines to that effect.
“We should remember that the Bible enjoins us in Hebrew 13:17, to obey those that have the rule over us.
“Now that government has lifted ban on religious centres with conditions attached, it behoves us, as religious leaders, to ensure absolute compliance to protect government from being blamed for its leniency,’’ Akinyemiju said.
Also, the Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Jesus Assembly Parish, Ibadan, Pastor Vincent Ajiboye, thanked God and the government for the opportunity to reopen churches.
“It’s good really to open in phases because of all we have gone through.
“Our church is open and to the glory of God we are fully prepared.
“May the lord see us through in Jesus name, amen,’’ Ajiboye prayed.
A Christian faithful, Mr Ademola Ilori, expressed gratitude to God for giving him and family the grace and opportunity to worship again.
“We thank the government also for this, but we will appreciate them to increase the time/hours given for churches to operate, so as to enable us express our profound gratitude and service to God,’’ he said.