Despite the relaxation of the restriction on places of worship based on guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the Lagos State Government on Tuesday ruled out the immediate reopening of churches and mosques in the state.
Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, said this during a press briefing commemorating the first year in office of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
He said, “Even before the pronouncement by Federal Government, we have been having meetings with 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 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.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Monday approved the relaxation of the restriction on places of worship based on guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and protocols agreed by state governments.
He also approved reopening of hotels and the resumption of full banking operations in the financial sector, which hitherto had operated skeletal services in the last two months as part of measures put in place to mitigate the spread of the virus in the country.