Reopening of Churches: Some states reject FG order

Dr Sani Aliyu, cordinator PTF
Tochi Juliet

Federal Government has earlier placed a ban on open worship as a means to curb the deadly viral coronavirus.

The ban which lasted for three months was lifted on June 1st following the announcement by the Presidential Task Force.

The PTF said the decision was reached based on the guidelines and protocols agreed upon by state governments in lines with the protocols of NCDC.

However, some states have refused to comply with this order by the FG. Lagos state which has the highest number of Covid-19 has insisted the ban on a religious gathering in the state is still active.

Immediately the announcement was made, the commissioner of home affairs, Anofiu Elegushi, said the state would maintain the status quo as per the reopening of churches and mosques.

Kaduna State has joined the league of states that reused to adhere to federal government order of reopening of churches and mosques.

Muyiwa Adekeye, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media & Communication in a statement, had said that the state government has started engagements with business leaders, and began receiving recommendations from some religious leaders on the subject of the safe reopening of places of worship.

“However, these consultations have not been concluded,” the statement warned.

The statement clarified that places of worship in Kaduna State were not closed by the federal government, adding that the decision to close places of worship in Kaduna State was taken and enforced in March 2020 by the state government as part of the proclamation of the Quarantine Orders in the state.

“Kaduna State is not one of the three states and the FCT where the Federal Government imposed a lockdown. The steps taken to ease such federally-imposed lockdowns in the concerned places should not be construed as the Federal Government relaxing in all states conditions that it did not impose in the first place”, the statement read in part.

Furthermore, Kwara State Govt has announced that the possibility of the state to reopen churches now is not visible as the state is still ranking 15th spot with 111 cases.

Kwara commissioner of health, Raji AbdulRazaq, stated that although a central order has commanded the reopening, it is left to the state authorities with the discretion to implement it.

Osun state equally made such decision has they promised to discuss the religious leaders to discuss the modalities for the reopening.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian government has given a list of guidelines places of worship must meet before being permitted to operate in the reopening of religious centres.

The PTF on Covid-19 said the guidelines are part of measures to check the spread of the virus.

The federal government said those with health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, HIV, among others are to stay at home and worship.

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