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COVID-19: Ortom reverses decision on reopening of worship centres, markets

Samuel Ortom

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Saturday ordered an immediate reversal of the order reopening churches, mosques and markets in the state till further notice.

The governor, who ordered the reopening of religious centres last week, also signed an executive order to ensure the prosecution of anyone caught violating the safety measures put in place by the state government to check the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

Ortom told journalists in Makurdi that he reversed the decision because of the Federal Government’s advice of the reopening of the religious centres.

He said: “We have reviewed the relaxation of the lockdown we did last Thursday. Since then we heard the federal government advised us against the reopening of churches, mosques and public gatherings.

“The Christian Association of Nigeria and Jama’atu Nasir Islam have all given their support to the federal government that it will be too early and premature for us to reopen the churches and mosques and markets.

“We are a component of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and appreciate the fact that the federal government is the custodian of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and of course they are more informed than we are and we must subject ourselves to the decisions that are in accordance with the laws of this land.

READ ALSO: Ortom relaxes COVID-19 lockdown in Benue, orders reopening of worship centers

“We do not want to endanger our people and in the event of any challenge concerning this pandemic the point to call upon is the federal government. So we cannot kick against their advice.

“We have seen that the advice is genuine, our decision is premature and if we took a decision and we have this kind of genuine advice that is meant to support the health of our people we have no reason whatsoever to go ahead with the decision we took.”

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