Despite hike in COVID-19 cases, six northern govs open mosques, churches

•Decision taken in a haste —Clerics •Umahi lifts ban on religious congregations in Ebonyi

 

AMIDST daily spike in COVID-19 cases in Northern states, governors in six states in the region on Friday allowed Juma’at service to hold across towns and villages.

In Gombe, Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Jigawa and Zamfara states, the governors have also given churches the go-ahead to hold Sunday service tomorrow.

Statistics from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) covering a one-week period indicates spikes in the number of recorded cases in these states.

According to the statistics, between Friday, 8 May and Friday, 15 May, COVID-19 cases in Borno jumped from 142 to 191; Gombe, from 110 to 124; Adamawa, from 15 to 21; Jigawa, 83 to 176; Yobe, 13 to 32 and Zamfara, 65 to 73.

The decision of the governors to reopen the worship centres, has however, elicited sharp criticisms from a cross section of opinion leaders, including Muslim scholars and clerics.

The Chief Imam of Sultan Bello Mosque, Kaduna, Dr Suleiman Adam, described the decision as one taken in haste, just as another cleric, Dr Tukur Adams, advised the governors of the concerned states to rescind the decision and allow health experts to guide them.

In Gombe State, the government said its decision followed persistent calls for the reopening of worship centres for congregational prayers.

It said it held consultative meetings with religious leaders and heads of security agencies to review the restriction order on religious activities and social gatherings as a measure to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the state. .

In a statewide broadcast on Friday, Governor Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya stated that “while majority supported the call, some cautiously approved of it. It is against this backdrop that government has resolved to gradually ease the restrictions in our dear state by reopening places of worship” but with “strict compliance” with safety guidelines.

He said: “While relaxing the restriction order takes immediate effect, there must be strict observance of social distancing, compulsory wearing of face masks, regular hand washing with soap and water and limiting the number of persons in each congregation to not more than 20-50 persons, depending on the size of the worship centre.

“We are also adjusting the curfew time to be from 8.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m. daily with effect from today. Also, civil servants on Grade level 9 and above are hereby directed to resume work with effect from Monday, 25th May, 2020 while strictly observing the new guidelines in their places of work.

“However, all other existing measures to curb the spread of the virus, especially the ban of commercial motorcycles, interstate travels, closure of all schools and borders shall remain in effect.”

Governor Inuwa Yahaya called on the people of the state to adhere to the new guidelines and take responsibility for containing the spread of the coronavirus in the state, as individuals or as groups.

“While we will continue to monitor and ensure that there is no community transmission, we would, however, not hesitate to revert to the previous order or to take more drastic measures should the need arise,” he added.

Governors of the other affected states have equally maintained that they arrived at the decision after meeting with religious stakeholders, emphasising, however, that adherence to all safety guidelines prescribed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) would be monitored.

The Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, in ordering the reopening of mosques and other religious centres, said the enforcement of compliance with social distancing and other measures against the spread of the virus would be ensured.

The governor, while addressing newsmen on Friday in Dutse, said: “Following our meeting with Ulama, other religious leaders and traditional rulers, as well as health experts, Friday congregational prayer will now continue in all parts of the state in accordance with the NCDC guidelines.

“Our collective effort in the fight against the pandemic is yielding positive result. So far, seven of our patients have recovered and discharged, including a six years old girl.”

However, some Islamic clerics have criticised the decision of the governors, saying it is not in the best interest of the people as COVID-19 remains a major challenge in the country.

One of the critics, the Chief Imam of Sultan Bello Mosque, Kaduna, Dr Suleiman Adam, described the decision as one taken in haste.

“The disease is very much around us and we do not even have concrete measures; all that is happening is a cosmetic attempt to address the situation.

“You can see that at the level of treatment. People that have survived the virus would come out to say different things about how they were treated,” Dr Adam said.

Another cleric, Dr Tukur Adams, advised the governors of the concerned states to rescind the decision and allow “our health experts to guide us as religious leaders cannot be health experts.”

In a similar move, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has lifted the ban on religious worship across the state with effect from Friday as part of efforts to relax the COVID-19 lockdown.

The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Uchenna Orji, made the disclosure in a statement on Friday in Abakaliki.

He said the decision was in response to “passionate” appeals made by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the state.

“The reopening of the worship centres must, however, be under strict observance of the state laws and must be once a week.

“All churches are to observe their services only on Sundays from 9.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m.

“Seventh-Day Adventists and Muslim faithful are to observe their services on Saturdays and Fridays, respectively and also from 9.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m.

“No religious centre shall permit more than 50 people and worshippers must observe a minimum of two meters social distancing from one another,” he said.

Orji said wearing of face masks, washing of hands with running water and use of sanitiser must be strictly observed in all religious centres.

“No religious service is allowed to hold any other day than the days specified herein and which must be in strict observance of all COVID-19 laws and regulations.

“The CAN has a duty to shut any religious gathering and arrest the principal of the worship centre, which violates this order.

“The government requests all religious bodies in the state to use this window to create awareness among members on the protocols, policies, laws and regulations regarding COVID-19 as well as pray for the state and Nigeria,” he said.

Orji also urged religious leaders to use the opportunity to advise members on the need for aggressive participation in agriculture and other lawful means of livelihood.

“The CAN leadership and anti-COVID-19 committee on religious centres are requested to mount strict monitoring of all religious centres in the state and ensure strict compliance and discipline,” he said.

 

 

 

 

YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

Buy and read digital replicas of your TRIBUNE titles by subscribing through E-VENDING

 

COVID-19: We Don’t Know Whereabouts Of Chinese Doctors ― PTF • Don’t ask me where they are ― Health Minister
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, on Thursday, said that it is not aware of the whereabouts of the Chinese doctors and health professionals who were brought to Nigeria some weeks ago to help the country in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic… Read full story

Amid Uproar, Lagos Backtracks, Says Dubai Returnee Didn’t Die Of COVID-19
Lagos State government on Thursday night retracted its earlier claim that one of the returnees from Dubai, died of COVID-19. Other returnees, quarantined at an isolation centre in Lekki, had protested in a viral video clip, disproving the earlier official position… Read full story

No Conclusion Yet On ‘Strange’ Deaths In Kano
The Federal Government says there are no conclusions yet with regard to ‘strange’ deaths in Kano State. The Minister for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19… Read full story

FG To Present Revised 2020 Budget Next Week •As Reps uncover documents on illegal virement of MDAs funds to finance COVID-19
Barring last minutes changes, the Federal Government (FG) is expected to formally present the revised 2020 Appropriation bill of N10.58 trillion to the National Assembly. The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who disclosed this during high-level meeting held behind closed… Read full story

COVID-19: PTF Warns Against Using Bleach, Ethanol As Cure
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, on Thursday, warned Nigerians against the use of bleach or ethanol as cure for COVID-19, saying that its usage can result in death. Besides, the PTF also cautioned Nigerians to stop the stigmatisation of people with COVID-19 infection once they recover from it… Read full story

COVID-19 Care Now Available For All Who Need It ― PTF
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday assured that Nigeria’s testing strategy is yielding results, asserting that the country can now give care to any patient who needs it. Chairman of the task force and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha… Read full story

Buhari Makes Plans For Post-COVID-19 Nigeria
The presidency on Thursday outlined its plans to move the country forward after it exits the present COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting actions in the areas of the economy, healthcare, jobs creation, among others. A statement issued by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity) in Abuja noted… Read full story

Nigeria Didn’t Ask For Madagascar COVID Solution, The Country Sent Them To Us, Says PTF
The Presidential Task Force of the control of the COVID-19 pandemic has disowned the Madagascar Covid organic solution, which had been reported to have been requested by the Federal Government to fight the virus. Chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss… Read full story

Why Canada Denies Air Peace Right To Evacuate Stranded Nigerians–Onyeama
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama’s move to patronise local carriers for the evacuation of Nigerians abroad has suffered a setback. The Canadian government had denied a local airline, Air Peace, landing right to evacuate Nigerian citizens in Ottawa on the ground that it has no license to… Read full story

COVID-19: Pandemic Offers Chance To Reset Critical Sectors ― Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has observed that even though the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected lives and livelihoods of Nigerians in different ways, it, however, offers an opportunity for the Nigerian people and government to have a reset in critical sectors of the economy and social services… Read full story

13-Year-Old Girl, 23 Other Ladies Used For Prostitution Rescued In Lagos Hotel
The police in Lagos State have rescued 24 ladies including a 13-year-old who were trafficked to Lagos from Akwa Ibom State for prostitution. Four members of the syndicate that brought the girls, most of them from Oron in Akwa Ibom State, have also been arrested… Read full story

Shocking Story Of Man Who Found Out That His Twins Babies Have Two Fathers
A Chinese man is left stunned after finding out that his twin babies have two fathers, the Daily Mail of UK reported on Thursday. The man, who remains unidentified, made the shocking discovery after taking the new babies for a DNA test as part of the standard procedure to register their births in China, a DNA… Read full story

We Deregulated Downstream Oil Sector In March — Sylva
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva says the downstream oil sector was deregulated on March 19, with the reduction in the pump price of the Premium Motor Spirit(PMS) also known as petrol. Sylva made the clarification at a ministerial briefing giving a scorecard of the… Read full story

EDITORIAL: Governments And The COVID-19 Billions
SINCE the Covid-19 global pandemic touched down in Nigeria in late February, there have been concerted efforts by the private and public sectors to mobilise resources to contain its spread. As early as March 26, the Coalition Against Covid-19 (CACOVID) emerged to mobilise private sector leadership… Read full story

You might also like
Comments

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. AcceptRead More