Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
Uncertainty surrounds the celebration of Muslim festival Eid Fitri and congregational prayers at the various praying grounds in Borno amid fears of novel coronavirus pandemic.
Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum has asked the state Response and Control Team on COVID-19 to consult with the Shehu of Borno and Islamic clerics on the possibility of holding Eid prayers ‘under strict preventive measures.’
Spokesman to the governor Malam Isa Gusau in a statement on Wednesday said Governor Zulum noted that COVID-19 was a dangerous disease requiring sustained efforts to prevent its spread. He said the state must, however, harmonise all its obligation in the fight to contain the virus.
‘We have to harmonise our obligations in fighting the virus with the needs of those we represent, especially on highly sensitive issues of religion, in which citizens act with passion,’ the statement quoted the governor as saying.
He said citizens’ motivations for survival and religion are divinely strong and can’t be ignored by the government.
‘Given the circumstance, I am directing members of our dedicated COVID-19 Response Team chaired by His Excellency, the Deputy Governor, to consult with His Eminence, the Shehu of Borno, to hold a meeting that should be attended by the Imam Idaini of Borno and other Imams of Eid grounds in the metropolis, relevant security agencies and volunteers, to critically discuss the possibility or otherwise of allowing Eids to hold under strict conditions,’ he said.
The governor, however, said he will be willing to accept any recommendation from the COVID-19 team including a contrary view to his view about the possibility of holding eid.
An update on Wednesday by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) shows Borno has recorded 227 confirmed cases of coronavirus with about 20 deaths since April 18th when the first case was reported in the state. No fewer than 85 persons have since been discharged from isolation centres.