The Bayelsa State Government has sealed six churches in the state for breaching “operational protocols” required to conduct services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state government on May 7 relaxed its restriction on social gatherings and allowed churches to hold services with up to 50 worshipers.
The relaxation was granted subject to compliance to strict conditions on provision of hand washing facilities, wearing of face masks and observance of social distancing in the seating arrangements.
Freston Akpor, Permanent Secretary, Bayelsa State Ministry of Information, however, told NAN on Monday in Yenagoa that the Security Sub-Committee of the state’s Task Force on COVID- 19, sealed the churches during its surveillance on Sunday.
Akpor said: “The six churches were sealed for failure to comply with safety measures put in place by the government to contain the spread of the pandemic and protect the people of Bayelsa.
“The affected churches are, Living Faith Church (also known as Winners Chapel), Igbogene, Salvation Victory Centre, Igbogene, Shalom International Christian Centre, along Tombia-Amassoma road and Great Grace Distinguished Assembly, Okutukutu.
“Others are Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, Opolo and Hebrews International Church, Ayama road.
“The churches will remain sealed until further notice to serve as deterrent to other churches.
“The move will help in ensuring that other churches adhere to the protocols on hand washing, use of face masks and social distancing as measures to check the spread of the virus in the state.”
Akpor said the security sub-committee of the task force on COVID-19 unsealed two churches earlier shutdown for violating safety measures on the pandemic.
Akpor explained that the two churches, Halleluya Deliverance Ministry International and Embassy Faith churches, were unsealed after undertaken to comply with prescribed safety protocols.