Liberia: “Sit Down and Listen to the Word of God,” Sen. Prince Y. Johnson Tells Police Chief, Defies Health Regulation on Coronavirus
MONROVIA – The regular worship service at the Chapel of Faith Ministries, headed by warlord turned pastor and politician, Senator Prince Y. Johnson, became dramatic as the Senator refused to adhere to the sudden health regulations that were being enforced by the Inspector General of Police, Col. Patrick Sudue.
Liberians woke up Sunday morning to a list of emergency health regulations to include a ban on all worship services at all religious centers.
But the statesman and pastor would not abide; he believed the IG of Police and his cohorts were acting without a presidential mandate.
He said, “I just spoke to the Minister of State now and the President of Liberia did not give such order and so if you come to the church and you want to be a disciple of Christ, come sit down and listen to the Word of God.”
But as the Police Inspector General attempted carrying out his awareness and encouraging the congregation to leave for Church, Sen. Johnson responded: “Mr. Director, don’t disturb my church, please sit down and listen to the Word of God.”
The back and forth argument between Sen. Johnson and the Police IG continued for several minutes with the Senator insisting that there has been no such order from the President.
Sen. Johnson continued: “Mr. Police Director, the first thing – let the House of Legislature close. 72 Representatives and 30 Senators meet there every Tuesdays and Thursdays and you do not have the power to close down the Legislature but you have the power to close down the House of God?”
As Liberia recorded its third case of Coronavirus on Saturday that has a long trail of contacts, the Minister of health decided to invoke the Public Health Law by declaring a state of national health emergency in Montserrado and Margibi Counties which are considered infected counties.
“In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and in an effort to keep our nation safe, the Minister of Health has declared a national health emergency,” Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina S. Jallah announced in a live radio broadcast on Sunday, March 22.
“In keeping with title 33, chapter 14 of the Liberian Code of Laws Revised, known as the Public Health Law, the Minister of Health has designated Montserrado and Margibi Counties as infected areas, in which the following rules and regulations will apply immediately and remain in effect for the next 21 days,” Dr. Jallah further stated.
Appearing live on state radio 48 hours later after Russ was diagnosed, Dr. Jallah, among several measures, announced the closure of all private and public schools, universities, colleges and other institutions of learning for 21 days as of March 21, 2019 within Montserrado and Margibi Counties.
Dr. Jallah said the Ministry of Justice, as head of the Joint Security, shall enforce these rules without prejudice.
The ban also covers bars, night clubs, casinos, betting centers, cinemas, video clubs, entertainment centers, private and public beaches, barber shops and beauty salons.
“Churches, Mosques, religious centers and other places of worshiped are hereby ordered closed,” she said.
The Government has also barred large gatherings, including sporting activities and parties of more than 10 people.