Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Ekiti State chapter, has consented to government’s order on reopening of mosques for worship on Friday, August14, this is sequel to the lifting of ban by the state government on congregations that are more than 20 persons.
The Council, however, insisted that would be only for the mosques that have met all the conditions, which include fumigation of premises, provision of infra red thermometer, sanitizers, handwashing facilities and strict compliance
Governor Kayode Fayemi, had in a statewide broadcast on August 5, declared that from all indications, churches and mosques in Ekiti have substantially complied with provision of some COVID-19 precautionary facilities and said they were allowed to begin operations on Friday, August 14.
In a statement by the NSCIA President, Alhaji Yakubu Sanni, said investigation by the religious body confirmed that substantial numbers of mosques operating in the state were ready to reopen.
Before reopening, Sanni advised that “fumigation of the mosques by the ministry of environment was compulsory.
Provision of infra-red thermometer and social spacing of 6ft apart were also a must.
“Individuals should come with their own praying mats and ablution kettles, provision of water to wash hands and hand sanitizer. It is advised that anybody besides the Imam above the age of 65 and below the age of 12 should stay away from the mosque.
“The service is expected to start at 1:30 and end at 2:30. Everybody participating in the prayer should wear nose mask. Number of worshippers in the mosque should be determined by the capacity of the space to contain worshippers standing 6 feet apart.
“It should be ensured that under no circumstances should the worshippers converge to have any meetings or social gathering without maintaining social distancing.
“Mosque management should appoint officials to monitor compliance.
May the Almighty Allah bless us as we observe these rules.”
Meanwhile, the Christains Association of Nigeria (CAN), has expressed displeasure over stringent conditions spelt out for reopening of worship centres.
Speaking with journalists in Ado-Ekiti, CAN chairman, Rev Fr. Peter Olowolafe, said the debarring of people below ages 12 and those above 65 from coming to church was too strict a condition that can guarantee smooth take off of churches.
Outlining the conditions that are attached to reopening, Fayemi said: “The protocols also indicate that there should be no multiple services, and services must be concluded within two hours while children below 12 years of age and elderly people above 65 are not allowed to attend services or Sabbath until further notice. An attendance register must be provided by each worship centre to record attendance.
“For avoidance of doubt, only Friday Jumat for Muslims, Saturday Sabbath for Adventists and Sunday Services for other Christian denominations are allowed. Weekly and vigil services are not to hold in the meantime.”