Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Government yesterday rescinded its decision to reopen worship centres, markets and public places.
The state government had earlier on Thursday announced the lifting of ban on all activities and directed all worship centers, markets and other public activities to reopen.
However, Governor Sam Ortom said the government reversed itself in compliance with the advice of the Federal Government issued through the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) as well as other religious bodies against reopening of worship centres and other public places.
Ortom added that since Benue is part of the Nigerian Federation, it is working in collaboration with relevant federal agencies including the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and would not want to be seen as working at variance with them.
“We are a component part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and we appreciate the fact that the Federal Government is the custodian of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, and they are informed about what is going on, and so we must subject ourselves to their decision in accordance with laws of the land.
“We do not want to endanger the lives of our people. In the event of any challenge concerning this pandemic, the next port of call will be the Federal Government.
Meanwhile the Benue State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has urged Christians in the state to respect the directive of the state government by not opening their churches for worship as earlier announced.
CAN Benue Chapter Chairman, Reverend Akpen Leva, in a statement charged all the church leaders and ministers of the gospel to urge their congregations not to open their churches for worship as earlier announced.
So, we cannot kick against their advice. We feel that the advice is genuine. If we took a decision and we have this kind of advice that is genuine and meant to support the health of our people, we have no reason whatsoever to go ahead with the decision we earlier took,” the governor said.