Lagos Rules Out Reopening Religious Centres Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases

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The immediate reopening of churches and mosques as directed by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has been ruled out by Lagos State Government.

The Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, during the 2020 Ministerial Press Briefing commemorating the first year in office of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Oluon Tuesday said that Lagos being the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic would not reopen worship centres until there is a “clear coast for the state to do so”, The PUNCH reports.

We had reported that the Federal Government had on Monday, June 1, lifted the ban on mosques and churches in the country, based on guidelines and protocols agreed with state governments. But Elegushi said the state was still looking at the possibility of reopening worship centres despite the FG’s guidelines.

He said, “Even before the pronouncement by Federal Government, we have been having meetings with the religious leaders, we even had one with Safety Commission, looking at the possibility of reopening of religious houses.

”We also had one with the leaders of the two faiths and I want to tell you categorically that at that meeting, the possibility of reopening religious houses was ruled out totally. They claimed that they cannot take such responsibility of ensuring that only 20 or 50 people are praying behind them.

”Like an Imam said, he doesn’t know what is going on at the back immediately he is leading a prayer. He said if more than 20 or 50 people are staying at his back, he is not going to take responsibility for their presence. So, in the meeting, we ruled out in totality the issue of reopening the religious houses until we have a clear coast for us to do so.

”The Federal Government mentioned it, but it never ruled out the state in achieving that pronouncement, so all states will have to look at the possibility of doing so in their respective states. We all know Lagos is still having more figures. So, definitely, that will speak to our decision.”

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