COVID-19: Low attendance, strict compliance greet church re-opening in Lagos



As the Lagos State Government lifts the restriction on the religious activities, some churches within Lagos metropolis were greeted with low attendance amidst strict compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Federal Government, had on March 15, instituted lockdown measures and banned public gatherings while religious places were sealed as a precautionary move against the spread of COVID-19.

However, tougher lockdown measures was imposed in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja given their status as the epicenter of the COVID-19 in Nigeria which later resulted to 20-week of ban on public religious activities.

The Lagos State Government, on July 30, in consultations with relevant stakeholders reviewed its COVID-19 protocols to allow religious activities to hold within stipulated guidelines.

The announcement by Lagos state government stipulated that churches are only permitted to hold on Sundays, while attendees above 65 years are strongly discouraged from attending services.

The guidelines also included the enforcement of the use of facemask, while regular cleaning and disinfection of facilities must be adhered to.

The state also recommended appropriate screening facilities for testing such as sanitizers and temperature checks, among others.

The first Sunday after the relaxation of the lockdown and re-opening of churches within Lagos, on the spot assessment by NAN correspondent showed strict compliance by the churches that were opened for the Sunday services.

A check on churches around Berger, Ojodu and Ogba areas of Lagos showed that many faithful were still held back, while the churches that had services ensured strict compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.

At The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Solid Rock Parish, Ojodu Berger, Sunday services had already commenced around 8:00 a.m. with strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols ensured.

During the service, members sat at a social distance within themselves,  while the use of public address system was minimized.

Also, at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Livingstone Assembly, Ojodu, worshippers were seen stopped at the gate where their temperatures were taken and some hand washing equipment provided.

The Zoe Ministry Worldwide, Favour Arena, Budland Estate in Akiode had already concluded the Sunday Services as at 11:30.a.m, but a pastor who spoke under anonymity confirmed low turnout of church members.

“We are happy that the churches are now allowed to open, the members are also happy with the development; for today, attendance was encouraging.

“As time goes on, many who did not come today will have less doubt and will come around because we are just starting,”  he said.

Pastor Sejiro Oluwasegun of the Christ Livingspring Apostle Ministry, (CLAM), Ogba, Lagos, told NAN that members of the church were in good spirit at the first meeting after the lockdown.

“It is a good thing that the church activities are now resuming. It’s just like starting all-over or to say a resurrection and of course today, members are really lifted.

“Our members are happy that services are back, although not all services, but at least Sunday services. The fact that we can come together on Sunday to fellowship is a good development.

“The number of worshippers is quite encouraging, but there will always be a first time to everything, subsequent services may witness more turnout as we were  just about 20 per cent of our previous attendance,’’ he said.

At the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), City of God Cathedral,  where Cardinal James Odunmbaku presides at Akiode, Lagos, strict COVID-19 protocols were observed as members queued to take their turn to be screened.

Worshippers were sanitized with an electronic spray stationed at the entrance before being allowed to go into the auditorium with notice about the COVID-19 guidelines pasted strategically on the walls of the church.

The Head of Administration of the Celestial Church, Rev. Olasupo Ajayi JP, told NAN that the security and enforcement of the COVID-19 protocols were  uppermost in the minds of the church hierarchy.

“Opening of churches is a welcomed development because we have been looking forward to it. We now have the opportunity to worship God since March when we opened last.

“As God directed us, we must respect the authority, so coming back to worship now, we need to abide by the government rules and regulations in our order of service.

“Those that were above 60 and the ones below 15 have been advised to stay at home, while we have equally sent short messages (SMS) to our members to ensure compliance.

“We have to also suspend the Sunday School today because of the limited time we have since the populations has been put to only 50 per cent of our attendance,’’ he said.


Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Tajudeen Atitebi (NAN)


Kwara records 12 new cases of COVID-19, discharges 23 patients



Kwara has recorded 12 more cases of COVID-19 while 23 persons who tested negative twice have been discharged.

Mr Rafiu Ajakaye, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor and Spokesman of the Technical Committee on COVID-19, made this known in a statement on Monday in Ilorin.

Ajakaye said that the new cases brings to 1025 the total number of confirmed cases so far in the state, with 822 patients discharged and 26 deaths recorded.

“As at 9:30p.m on Sunday, the number of active cases was 177 and 822 patients had so far been discharged and 26 deaths recorded,” said Ajakaye.

Edited By: Bayo Sekoni
Source: NAN
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General news

Ganduje mourns Emir of Zazzau



Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has commiserated with the people and government of Kaduna State over the death of Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, who died on Sunday at 84.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Abba Anwar, the Kano State governor described the death as a national tragedy and monumental blow to the nation’s traditional institution system.

He said “we lost a national hero, Alhaji Shehu Idris was an embodiment of humility, discipline, respect, statesmanship and exemplary leadership.

“His death leaves an indelible mark in the history of the Nigerian nation state.

“It is with sad note and deep sense of agony that we received the demise of this rare gem and a traditional leader of high repute with respectful global touch.”

Ganduje prayed for the reposed soul of the emir on behalf of the government and people of Kano State, to the families of the late emir, the Kaduna State government and the Zazzau Emirate.

“We pray for Allah’s blessing and forgiveness for the reposed soul of the great emir. May Allah forgive his shortcomings and reward his good deeds abundantly.” (NAN )

Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
Source: NAN
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E! hosts skip Emmys red carpet after testing positive for COVID-19



The E! “Live From the Red Carpet” preshow for the Emmy Awards is missing a couple of key players this year.

During Sunday’s broadcast, Giuliana Rancic and Vivica A. Fox – who were expected to host a portion of E!’s 2020 red-carpet coverage – both announced that they tested positive for COVID-19 and therefore could not emcee the show as planned.

“As I go into my 20th year on the E! red carpet, I have to say I do not take missing an award show lightly.

“But unfortunately, this year is just so different. As part of E! and NBCUniversal’s very strict testing guidelines – especially before an event like this – I did find out that I tested positive for COVID-19.

“As much as I didn’t want to hear that, I’m very thankful I heard it before I traveled and possibly could have exposed other people. As far as my health, I’m doing well,” Rancic said via video chat.

Rancic added that her husband and son also tested positive for the respiratory illness and are “taking care of each other” in quarantine.

“I’m wishing you all the best,” she continued from home, adding:  “Please protect yourselves and protect those around you. Take good care, and I’ll see you on the next red carpet.”

Later, E! hosts Brad Goreski and Nina Parker shared a statement from Fox explaining her own absence.

“I’m terribly sorry I cannot be with my E! family tonight,” the message read.

“Unfortunately I have tested positive for (COVID-19), so in an abundance of caution, I’ve isolated myself at home.

“During these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever that we follow all safety and health rules and guidelines to protect ourselves and each other. … I look forward to seeing everyone again soon.”

Parker and Goreski – who were originally slated to host the E! “Countdown to the Red Carpet” from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Eastern before passing the baton to Rancic and Fox – simply extended their hosting duties to the “Live From the Red Carpet” telecast.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Source: NAN
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NCDC records 97 new COVID-19 infections, total cases now 57, 242



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has recorded  97 new coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in the country, bringing the total confirmed cases to 57, 242 nationwide.

The NCDC disclosed this on its official twitter handle on Sunday .

It added that three persons died of COVID-19 complications while 138 patients, who recovered at various isolation centres across the country the same day, were discharged.

Based on the figures released, Lagos state recorded the highest number of infections with 46 new cases.

The data released also indicated that Kwara recorded 12 new infections, Rivers 11, and Adamawa 4.

Others were Niger – 4, Ogun – 4, Osun – 4, Ekiti – 3, Imo – 3, Kaduna – 3, Plateau – 2, and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) – 1.

According to the NCDC, the 36 states and FCT have now recorded at least one confirmed case of the virus.

“Till date, 57, 242 cases have been confirmed, 48, 569 cases have been discharged, and 1,098 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the FCT,” the centre said.

NCDC stated that a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC), activated at Level 3, has continued  to coordinate the national response activities across the country.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Emmanuel Yashim
Source: NAN
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