As the confirmed cases of the deadly COVID- 19 virus in Nigeria surpassed 5000 on May14, 2020, it was reported that four governors from the North had eased the lockdown of their respective states, permitting religious activities with immediate effect.

The governors of Borno, Gombe, Adamawa and Zamfara, on Thursday reopened Mosques and Churches in their states, much to the annoyance of the federal government because it against the laid down COVID- 19 protocal, which is aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

The federal government believes that the situation of the virus spread in the country, which is presumed to be at “community transmission level”, does not permit lowering the guard in any form.

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Control has resolved to engage with the governors.

Addressing the issue, the Minister for Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed said: “We are always working together with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF). We believe that the Governors won’t do anything that will put in jeopardy all we have achieved in the last few weeks of lockdown. So, I think it is better that we continue the engagement and I am sure that the chairman of the taskforce who is constantly in touch with the governments will take up this matter and we hope that he will be able to give a feedback.”

Gombe State Governor Muhammadu Yahaya said places of worship could be opened, if residents adhere strictly to the laid down rules of using face masks, maintaining social and physical distance, washing of hands and the use of hand sanitizers.

He urged the members of aid groups in mosques and Boys brigade in churches should ensure that worshippers comply with the above listed safety precautions. He added that flouting the safety precaution measures would tempt him to reverse the decision to ease the lockdown.

The Adamawa state governor lifted the ban on religious activities in the state through the Press Secretary to governor, Mr. Humwashi Wonosikou, in a statement which read: “Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri has eased the restriction on worship places and social gatherings earlier imposed on the state, following the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Churches, Mosques and the international cattle markets under lockdown can now reopen.”

On the part of Borno, the Deputy governor, who is also the COVID-19 Response Committee Chairman in the state disclosed in a statement on Wednesday that the state governor had lifted the ban on religious activities with immediate effect.

According to him, “All churches shall conduct church services as recommended by Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Borno Chapter in strict adherence with social distancing and use of facemasks.

“The ban on the sales and consumption of liquor and other intoxicating substances is still in force. Defaulters will be dealt with severely in accordance with the liquor law,” he said.

The governor of Adamawa state, Bello Matawalle, in a radio broadcast, said: “I want to commend the people of the state for supporting government in our effort to frustrate the spread of coronavirus in our dear state by complying with the lockdown orders.

“In the light of this, therefore, we are suspending restrictions on congregational prayers in Mosques and Churches while appealing to people not to converge in large numbers at the same time.” he said.

He however urged the people to follow the laid down precautions on how to curb the spread of the novel virus.
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ANAMBRA UPDATE

Anambra Update is an independent publication, established in 2012 for the purpose of presenting balanced coverage of events, and of promoting the best interests of Anambra and Ndigbo in extention. It owes allegiance to no political party, ethnic community, religious or other interest group. Its primary commitment is to the integrity and sovereignty of the Federation of Nigeria, and beyond that to the unity and sovereignty of Igbo Social-Cultural Race

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