Moshood Adebayo and Doris Obinna
Lagos State Government has banned religious gathering of over 50 worshipers for the next four weeks.
It also set up a committee, comprising top religious leaders of both Christian and Muslims, to ensure compliance.
This was part of a communique issued after a meeting of religious leaders with the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Olanrewaju Elegushi, at Alausa, Ikeja, yesterday.
Elegushi, who addressed the newsmen and religious leaders, including leadership of the Lagos chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Islamic leaders, said the enforcement takes immediate effect.
The commissioner, who read the communique on behalf of the religious bodies, also said the decision was taken in the interest of Lagosians.
They also urged the Federal Government to shut borders as well as ensure proper checks on immigrants through the borders.
“We met with religious leaders, both Christians and Muslims. We discussed, argued and realised the lives of Lagosians is important to us. Let me assure you the state government is not insensitive to religious activities.
“We are concerned that only the living can worship God. Having discussed extensively, the heads of religious bodies agreed government should embark on massive education of the virus at the grassroots. Health workers should up their games while more should be recruited.
“Hospitals should be compelled to attend to people without prejudice. In view of this, we have decided to suspend all religious activities of above 50 people and the enforcement starts with immediate effect,” the commissioner said.
CAN cchairman in Lagos, Alexander Bamgbola and the Grand Chief Imam in the state, while commending the state, said the ban was a necessity to safe-guide residents.
“We are going to follow the directive of the government. We are at a critical moment in out nation. God has been hearing our prayers concerting coronavirus.
In view of the increased in number of infected cases, we must be proactive. It is not about religion but survival. We need to listen to government and be proactive so that God will continue to answer us,” Bamgbala said.
Meanwhile, the government has urged residents to reduce all forms of public and social gatherings as part of the preventive measure to curtail the spread of the disease in the state.
Commissioner for Health, Akin Abayomi, advised that citizens should observe and practice the principle of ‘social distancing’ which is a public health strategy to slow down the spread of contagious diseases such as COVID-19.
In keeping with the advisory on ‘social distancing’, Abayomi tasked citizens to keep long possible distance between people, avoid body contact like shaking of hands and hugs, avoid social and public gatherings and observe good respiratory hygiene.