1. The Honourable Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Ekiti State; Olawale Fapohunda has urged Christian leaders in Ekiti State to support State Government’s effort to curb the spread of Coronavirus (COVID- 19) through religious programmes that does not violate the Ekiti State Coronavirus Disease (Prevention of Infection) Regulations, 2020.
2. Fapohunda made this plea in Ado-Ekiti today during a meeting he held with the Ekiti State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). The Attorney- General said that he called for the meeting with CAN to discuss additional measures to be taken jointly by the State Government and CAN to enforce the State COVID-19 Regulations specifically as it relates to Churches in the State.
3. According to him, “the Ministry of Justice is concerned about the increasing number of Pastors that have been arrested over the past few days for violating the prohibition of gathering provision in the COVID-19 Regulations. For the avoidance of doubt any form of gathering in Ekiti State is prohibited except for gathering in respect of funeral. In such cases attendance at a funeral must be limited to 20 people. There shall be no vigil or party and all safety measures including social distancing, wearing of masks must be strictly adhere to.’
4. He further stated that, “It is a matter of regret that no fewer than 10 Pastors have been arrested and prosecuted for violating the Ekiti State COVID-19 Regulations. We derive no joy in prosecuting representatives of faith-based groups. This is the time when the State Government needs prayers as well as constructive partnership with Churches and Mosques specifically in the areas of message transmission as well as counseling our people to stay calm and keep faith during this trying period. We need CAN to match Government’s food palliatives with spiritual palliatives within the limits of the Regulations’
5. Fapohunda appealed to CAN to do more in the area of communicating with its members on the dangers of large gatherings at a time like this. He said ‘COVID-19 is contagious. One person can affect a whole congregation and endager the lives of large communities”
6. In his response, the Chairman of the Ekiti State Chapter of CAN; Reverend Father Peter Olowolafe assured the State Government of CAN’s commitment to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in Ekiti State. He said that CAN have been very proactive in communicating with its membership on the need to comply with Government’s directives on the prevention of the spread of COVID-19. He apologised for the conduct of the erring churces and said CAN will intensify its efforts through its internal communication as well as electronic media to ensure full compliance by Churches in Ekiti State.
7. Present at the meeting were Very Reverend P.A Akindeko (State Vice- Chairman, CAN), Reverend Samuel Ipinlaye, State Secretary, CAN) Bishop C.O. Abifade (State Chairman, PFN), Reverend E.O Babare (Chairman, Ado Local Government CAN), and other senior members of the CAN Ekiti State Chapter.