INSPECTOR-GENERAL of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on Thursday directed his officers and men to enforce the restrictions designed to contain the spread of coronavirus during the Easter celebration.
While felicitating with Christians as they mark Easter, he urged worshippers to observe prayers and worship programmes in their homes.
Police spokesman Frank Mba urged religious leaders in Lagos and Ogun states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as well as others affected by the restriction orders to continue to cooperate with relevant government agencies.
“The IGP notes that the call has become necessary in order to curtail the community spread of the COVID-19 pandemic which has immensely challenged humanity across all spheres of life,” he said.
States, such as Imo, Ebonyi, Bayelsa and Abia, which earlier imposed restrictions, relaxed them yesterday.
Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma said residents were free to shop today for Easter.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, said in a statement that food markets and food vending supermarkets would be allowed to open from 6 am to 6pm today.
“The total lockdown of the state resumes with full force from Saturday, April 11, 2020,” he added.
Ebonyi State government also granted a partial restoration of religious activities in the state.
The government relaxed the ban on burials by giving those in the state between April 9 and 20 to bury their dead loved ones.
Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Uchenna Orji, said worshippers are expected to attend their normal service only on Sunday for Christians and Friday for Muslims with effect from April 12, 2020.
“Every worshipper must wear a face mask, including handkerchief or head tie. The service Centre must be provided with hand sanitisers and running water for washing of hands. There shall be no religious gatherings other than on Sundays.”
Also yesterday, Abia State government announced a two-day intra-state movement.
Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chris Ezem, said residents were free to move about on Good Friday and Easter Sunday to enable them to shop and perform other religious activities in commemoration to Easter.
Rivers State Government also temporarily relaxed the restrictions.
In a broadcast on Thursday, Governor Nyesom Wike said the directive permits the Muslim community to observe their Jumaat Prayers today, while Christians can hold Easter services on Sunday.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the relaxation on mass religious gathering is limited only to the afore-mentioned respective dates.”
The Lagos State debunked reports that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has relaxed the lockdown order in the state, describing the news as false. Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, said: “The lockdown order was made by the President and it is only the President that can relax or extend it.
“Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has not relaxed the lockdown order. He is not in a position to do so because he did not impose the lockdown order in the first place. The Governor will not unilaterally relax the restrictions of movement.
“The lockdown order is in the best interest of everyone. I, hereby, urge Lagosians to exercise more patience by staying at home so that the gains recorded so far in our fight against COVID-19 will not be frittered away.”
Bayelsa State government also relaxed its lockdown measures for Easter celebrations.
Governor Duoye Diri’s Acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, said the measure was specific to church services during the Easter celebration.
He said churches with large congregation would be permitted to have 50 persons during services, while 20 worshippers would be allowed for smaller churches.
Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello lifted the ban on religious grounds.
Commissioner for Information and Communication, Kingsley Fanwo, said it was to allow religious bodies to have their normal worship, but called for caution.
Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa states also lifted the ban on movement for Easter.