Avail Yourself of Testing, Ortom advises People with COVID-19 Symptoms — Rescinds order allowing religious activities, markets

Abiodun OBA


The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has appealed to those with symptoms similar to that of Covid-19 to avail themselves of testing.

Ortom who made the appeal on Saturday in Makurdi during the weekly news briefing on activities of the COVID-19 Quick Response Team also announced the decision to rescind his earlier order allowing Churches and Mosques in Benue to reopen for religious activities.

The Governor however, stressed that the decision to go back to the earlier lockdown guideline was based on the apprehension expressed by the Federal Government over decisions by some state governments to reopen religious activities.

Governor Ortom said, “we have reviewed the relax of lockdown we did last Thursday. Since then we heard the federal government advise us against the reopening of churches, mosques and public gatherings.

“The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and Jama’atu Nasir Islam have all given their backing to the federal government that it will be too early and premature for us to reopen the churches and mosques and to allow public gathering and to reopen market places.”

Ortom argued that as a state that is a component of the federal government, Benue cannot take decisions that go against the expressed standing of the central government.

“The federal government, as the custodian of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), had all the needed information on the viral infection and how to contain its spread.

”You need to be alive before you can worship.

“We are a component of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and appreciate the fact that the federal government is the custodian of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC and of course they are more informed than we are and we must subject ourselves to the decisions that are in accordance with the laws of this land.

“We do not want to endanger our people and in the event of any challenge concerning this pandemic the point to call upon is the federal government. So we cannot kick against their advise.

“We have seen that the advise is genuine, our decision is premature and if we took a decision and we have this kind of genuine advise that is meant to support the health of our people we have no reason whatsoever to go ahead with the decision we took.

“So I appreciate Benue people, I appreciate the concern of the CAN Benue state chapter, the Muslim community that have been mounting pressure that churches, mosques, markets and others be reopened. But you cannot attend church service or mosque or even market when you are dead.

“On behalf of the State Executive Council I hereby announce a reversal of the lifting. We will work closely with the federal government to know when it is convenient to relax the lockdown, as for now we are back to where we were before last Thursday,” he added.

“Leaders of Christian Association of Nigeria and Jamatu Nasiru Islam on the matter and other relevant stakeholders had already been consulted,”he said.

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