Members of the Abia State inter-ministerial committee on COVID-19, Wednesday, stormed the commercial city of Aba on enforcement visit and sealed Chapel of Answer Church along Jubilee Road as well as the electronic plaza in Ariaria International Market.
Chairman of the committee and Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Barr Chris Ezem, who led the team, visited two churches in the city, the Central Mosque along Hospital Road and the popular Ariaria International Market.
He expressed worries over the level of compliance to COVID-19 prevention and control guidelines issued by the state government and appealed to residents to take the fight against the disease serious to avert looming danger.
At the Chapel of Answers Church, Barr Ezem who was visibly displeased by the fact that the members were conducting midweek service in defiance of the protocols on religious worship for only Fridays for Muslims, Saturdays and Sundays for Christians, also condemned what he described as non-observance of social distancing by the worshipers as well as non-wearing of face masks by many of those found inside the church.
According to him, “Religious worship centres must partner with government to arrest the growing number of infections recorded in Aba as it is Biblical to do so and we cannot afford to sit idly and watch our people get exposed to this deadly virus that is threatening to kill as many people as it can find in the world”.
At the Central Mosque in Aba, the SSG addressed shop owners and the leasers of the mosque and warned against trading in the night during curfew hours as well as loading and offloading interstate buses from the northern part of the country in particular and other parts of the nation in general.
He further expressed displeasure over reports of non-compliance with compulsory wearing of face masks, maintenance of social distancing and gathering of not more than 50 persons during worship streams and informed that any further violations would lead to the indefinite closure of the mosque.
Similarly, at the Intercessors Ministry along Ukaegbu Road in Aba, Barr Ezem warmed members of the church against holding midweek services and non-compliance to other protocols for worship and threatened to close down the church If further reports of non-compliance are received.
During the visit to Ariaria International Market, the team observed that traders at the electronic plaza did not observe any of the guidelines issued by the committee for the operation of markets in the state and announced an immediate closure of the plaza till further notice.
Speaking to newsmen after the visits, Barr Ezem expressed strong displeasure over the poor compliance level at Aba and decried the rising cases of COVID-19 infections recorded in the city. “We cannot understand why the people have chosen to play with their lives and livelihood in this manner even after repeated appeals by the government and we are left with no other option but to take stricter measures to arrest the negative trend leading to the rise in the rampaging Coronavirus cases”, he concluded.