Moshood Adebayo, Lagos
Facts have emerged that churches and mosques in Lagos may not soon be re-opened for worshippers due to disagreement on protocols and guidelines between the state government and religious leaders.
The Federal Government had on Monday lifted its ban on mosque and church gatherings in the country based on guidelines and protocols agreed with state governments.
The measures had been put in place as part of the national effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.
Fielding questions from journalists during a Ministerial Press Briefing commemorating the first year in office of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, said the possibility of reopening the places of worship in the state had been ruled out.
‘Even before the pronouncement by the Federal Government, we have been having meetings with the religious leaders; we even have 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 the 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. We all know Lagos is still having more figures
‘So, definitely, that will speak to our decision. But the governor of the state will come out with further directives from that directive. We will call the two faith together and discuss the pronouncement and I can assure you that they themselves will tell us not to do it,’ the commissioner stated.