The Lagos State government has declared that places of worship would remain closed till further notice, following the announcement made by the Federal Government that there is now an ease on the shutdown of mosques and churches in Nigeria.
The Kaduna and Kwara State governments also took a similar position, saying that it is not yet time to reconvene in mosques and churches with the current status of the novel virus.
Muslim News had in an earlier report noted that the Federal Government through the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 gave state governments the liberty to apply the ease on the shutdown of places of worship as it relates to their peculiarities, adding that they could also reject the modification in the interest of their states.
In a broadcast, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu issued guidelines for the reopening of churches and mosques, urging religious leaders to ensure that they are followed to the letter.
According to him, “For churches, each service should be for a maximum of an hour with an interval of thirty minutes in between services to allow time for disinfection.
“Mosques may open 15 minutes before and ten minutes after prayers. The total time for Friday prayers should not exceed an hour. Islamiya schools, Sunday schools, night vigils, and children classes are to remain suspended; worshippers should be encouraged to sign up for preferred worship and make the option of virtual service available.
“There should be no gathering either or after worship and business outlets within the premises should remain closed.
“We are strongly advising vulnerable people with underlying conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases to please stay at home. Windows should be left open during services and preferably use open-air facility as much as possible,” he said.
The Lagos State government has however refrained from opening places of worship following the Federal Government’s directive, saying that its decision was reached after consulting with experts and religious leaders.
Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi disclosed this while addressing newsmen on the heels of the Ministerial news briefing marking the one year anniversary of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration.
The Commissioner said though the Governor would still address the issue, the decision to hold back on the opening of religious houses was taken after due consultation with representatives of the religious leaders.
He commended the religious leaders for their cooperation so far, saying that their support has helped in flattening the curve of the spread of the deadly virus.
In a similar development, the Kaduna and Kwara State governments have announced their decisions to keep places of worship shut till further notice, saying that consultations are still ongoing to arrive at the best protocols suitable for their states in reopening the places of worship.