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Akwa Ibom tasks church leaders on COVID-19 guidelines compliance

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State moves to enforce use of face masks in rural communities
The Akwa Ibom State Government has urged church leaders to ensure strict compliance with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), World Health Organisation (WHO) and the state government safety guidelines, stating that the spread of the ravaging COVID-19 is on the increase with high casualties of death.

The state’s Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Frank Archibong, who is the leader of the Akwa Ibom State COVID-19 Church Monitoring for Eket Senatorial District, gave the charge at the weekend during his team’s monitoring exercise to ascertain level of safety compliance by churches in the senatorial district.

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Archibong, who frowned at some church leaders for not observing the safety guidelines, said: “For us to be on the safe side, we must not compromise our compliance level to COVID-19 protocols during church services and at homes.”

He, however, urged worshippers to ensure they obey the simple guidelines on usage of infrared thermometers, functional water/sanitiser stands, face masks wearing during service and physical distancing within the church premises.

The commissioner, who lauded the efforts of the Revd. Fr. in charge of Catholic Church, Diocese of Uyo, Urukim, Oron Local Council for maintaining physical distancing and observation of safety guidelines by the congregation, advised against the use of handkerchief in the place of face masks.

Meanwhile, the state government said it had directed the state’s Commissioner of Police (CP) to enforce compulsory use of face masks in all parts of the state, including rural communities.

To this end, it has also co-ordinated village heads, youth presidents and local council chairmen to ensure enforcement of use of facemasks and strict adherence to other COVID-19 protocols in rural communities in the state.

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Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and Chairman, COVID-19 Management Committee, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, who announced this at the Government House in Uyo, yesterday, warned that civil servants across the state would no longer be allowed into their respective offices without face masks.

He declared that anyone caught defaulting the order would have to be detained for hours to serve as deterrent to others.

He said: “We have noticed with dismay the manifest flouting of the regulation requiring the use of face masks. As a responsible government, we must act to curb the spread of the virus and protect our citizens and residents. To this end, the governor has directed the state Commissioner of Police to order the monitoring teams to enforce this protocol to the letter.

“We urge our citizens to take personal responsibility by properly wearing their face masks and maintaining physical distancing. All citizens and residents are urged to comply with the COVID-19 guidelines and protocols.”

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