Lagos orders churches, mosques to remain shut

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Churches, mosques, and other worship centres in Lagos will remain shut due to the continued high number of coronavirus cases in the state, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Anofiu Elegushi, said on Tuesday.

Mr Elegushi spoke on the sideline of the 2020 Ministerial Press Briefing commemorating the first year in office of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

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.

Mr Elegushi said the reopening of the worship centres was not possible soon, as the state was the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.

”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, 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.

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”The Federal Government mentioned it, but it never ruled out the state in achieving that pronouncement, so all states will have to look at 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,” he said.

The commissioner, however, said the governor of the state would come out with further directives on the matter.

(NAN)