Sierra Leone Telegraph: 4 July 2021:
President Bio is being accused by cross section of the country’s religious community of using bully tactics, after announcing new covid lockdown measures on national television and radio without consulting the council of religious leaders.
The lockdown measures include the banning of religious service for a whole month, and the restriction of funeral and wedding attendance to 50 people.
But there is confusion as to whether the president meant that funeral and wedding ceremonies can take place in churches and mosques, subject to a maximum of 50 attending those events, or not.
Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden OOR (Photo), whose family are preparing to lay their mother Mrs Sylvia Jolliminah Blyden to rest on Tuesday, said: “My understanding of the President’s words is that Funerals and Weddings can go on in churches and mosques but with no more than 50 persons in attendance.
“However, regular congregational services like Sunday Church and Friday Mosque prayers have been banned for a month effectively Friday 2nd July 2021. Those who are saying funerals and weddings totally cannot be held in churches and mosques have surely misunderstood Mr. President. How can President Bio even say that?
“Hope this will be clarified. We all want to break the transmission but not at the expense of losing our rights to have our loved ones get mosque and church funeral blessings done over their remains. Limiting funeral and wedding attendance to no more than 50 persons in the church or mosque, is quite okay and understandable – in a bid to help stop COVID19 transmission.”
Yesterday the head of NACOVERC – Mr Jamiru, published a statement saying that anyone in the country planning a funeral or wedding must first apply to NCOVERC for permission, and must ensure that protocols will be put in place in compliance with the Covid restrictions.
This is a letter written by the Council of Churches to all churches in the country about the president’s lack of consultation about the covid lockdown restrictions: