Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, has threatened to shut down churches if worshippers fail to comply with the guidelines for preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
He stated this on Sunday at the thanksgiving service in celebration of the 90th birthday of Priscilla Mark, held at St. Martin’s Anglican Church, Omagwa in Ikwerre local government area of the state.
Wike, who threatened to reimpose a lockdown on the state, lamented the refusal of residents to use face masks, especially in churches and markets.
“When you go to most churches, they don’t wear masks. Go to markets, they don’t wear masks. They believe COVID-19 is not real. It’s not real because it has not happened to you. Nobody has died whom you know that is very close to you. But if somebody has died and the person was close to you, you’ll know that COVID-19 is real,” he said.
“I want to appeal to all of you that we have to be more strict now, because the way the second wave is going, it is more deadly than the first wave. I know how many people we have lost since the second wave started.
“Tell all the churches in your diocese that everybody must wear masks. If you don’t comply, I’ll have no choice but to shut down the churches. Pentecostal, Catholic, Anglican, whatever, I’ll have no choice, because when you have it, who spends the money to treat? It’s the state. We need to use the money for some other thing, not for this. So, we should be able to discipline ourselves.”
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), as of December 27, Rivers has confirmed 3,376 cases of the virus, but 3,111 recoveries and 64 deaths have been recorded.