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Police Boss, Churches Clash Over Worship Issue

The temporary suspension of church activities is said to be greeted by stiff resistances by some members of the church as the Liberia Council of Churches is calling on all churches to keep their doors opened but the police says its mandate to ensure that all religious activities ceases publicly until otherwise.The Council of Churches in a meeting with heads of churches, Center for Disease Controls and Preventions in Paynesville, the World Health Organization and government representatives on last Friday resolved that churches will not be closed rather they are allowed to carry out multiple church services while observing social distancing.
According to the LCC, it was also agreed that a massive fast and prayer service be held on March 25-27, 2020 in the country but the Police IG Patrick Sudue said he did not hear that churches will not be closed therefore under Article 33 Chapter 14, until the Health Minister who pronounced such measures deems it necessary to rest her decision and go by that meeting’s decision, he will continue his enforcement mandate and warned that all churches should continue to remain closed.
The Liberia National Police (LNP) said it will continue to maintain the peace and enforce the health safety regulations especially the social distancing aspect as prescribed by the Ministry of Health with the church being no exception in order to curtail the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
Explaining the process on the Truth FM Breakfast Show yesterday with Abraham Wheon, the Police Inspector General said the police will enforce the law without discriminating and that no church will not allowed to be opened for Sunday services until the health authorities can relax the mandate given to citizens.
“It will surprise you to know that before the mandate was even released the Muslim Council was the first to engage the police stating how serious the situation is and that they would stop all their prayers immediately. I was shocked to hear what the Muslims did because nobody called them and even the marketers were concerned therefore we had a discussion which has reached a common ground,” Col Sudue expressed.
The Police IG said whenever an enforcement mandate comes, he will ensure that it is enforced because his job is to maintain the peace, reiterating, “I am saying this and everyone under the sound of my voice please, Sunday do not open your church. All churches remain closed.” reiterated.
But the General Overseer of the Today Holy Church, Bishop P. Manasseh Conto, who spoke about making wise decisions in times like these said the decision of the government to shut down religious centers yet gives guidelines to supermarkets, restaurants and other places, the decision that places of worship should be shut down is harsh.
He said if people are allowed in per numbers, churches and mosques should be given similar guidelines and ensure that church leaders keep the regulations enforced because it is no secret that members must be alive to be preached to.
The Today Holy Church general overseers said the church is not against preventive measures put in place but to shut down all places of worship for 21 days, he will not be abide by that because if when all other things failed it is only one person everyone will turn to; assuring that he will conduct Bible Studies today in his church.
He said Liberians have to pray because it is the spiritual realm that controls the physical realm therefore he said II Chro. 7:13-15 is clear and wondered how the church can be shut down and said governments doing this are going overboard.
Meanwhile, on the issue of the decongesting the markets and other crowded areas, the police boss said his men are currently enforcing the six feet distancing but it is a difficult task looking at the strength of the police who now has to deal with two counties.
He said the police has a mandate of going into market places and decongesting it therefore they had already met with the market heads and derived a strategy of selling schedule therefore as of today the enforcement will begin in the Red-light Market as well as the Duala Market and will ensure that those areas are cleared.
He said everybody selling on the streets without a table should be aware there will be serious enforcement measures this entire week in the various markets and for those in Red-light, they will have to go to the Omega Market while those in Dual Market should go to the Red Hill Field and the ELWA Market is next. C Winnie Saywah-Jimmy writes

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