The Lagos State Government has banned all religious gatherings expected to consist of over 50 people within the state, saying that the move had become imperative in order to mitigate spread of coronavirus amongst its people.
It explained that globally observed trends of spread of the novel viral disease had shown that group gatherings and maintaining close proximity with others till the threat of the global pandemic was taken under control, was best dissauded and refrained from.
The ban came few hours after the state had confirmed four new cases of the corona virus, in its largest case report as yet, and as a result of which total cases recorded in Lagos was increased to seven.
According to the government, decision to ban religious gathering was reached on Wednesday after a meeting between Lagos State Government officials and religious bodies including Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), held at the Press Centre, Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja.
Reading a communique after the meeting, Commissioner for Home Affairs, Anofiu Elegushi, said the meeting agreed that all large religious gathering of over 50 people should be suspended with immediately.
Elegushi hinted that the suspension would last for four weeks, with a necessary review expected to be carried out considering state of the virus in the state.
He added that a committee had been set up to monitor the enforcement of the suspension to ensure that both Muslims and Christians in the state abide by the decision.
To ensure compliance, the commissioner disclosed that a 15-member committee comprises representatives of Muslims and Christians, would be deployed to ensure none of the religious organisations violates the law.
Elegushi also said the meeting agreed that the state government should embark on massive sensitisation of people at the grassroots on the need to embrace proper hygiene, adding, that the meeting agreed that all health workers in the state should up their games in the battle against Coronavirus.
Elegushi stated that it was agreed that the Federal Government should shutdown borders, especially land borders to checkmate the influx of foreigners into Lagos in order to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
The commissioner said the state government would immediately embarked on massive sensitisation of residents to be more aware of the danger posed by Coronavirus.
Elegushi appealed to Lagosians to desist from handshaking and to always wash their hands with soap and water or made use of sanitisers.
Responding, Chief Imam of Lagos State, Oluwatoyin Abou-Nolla, said the action of the state government was commendable, urging all Muslim leaders to abide by the decision and to also make personal hygiene a priority.
Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Apostle Alexander Bamgbola said the nation was at a critical point, stressing that since the outbreak of Coronavirus, Christians had been praying.
“We are at a critical moment in Nigeria, since we heard this, we have been praying. We have listened carefully to one another, particularly the government. The responsibility of every government is to protect the lives of the people.
“We must be proactive and take preventive measures. It is no longer the issue of religion but survival. We are going to accelerate the education of our people. We must listen to the instruction of the government and take the instruction seriously. We agree with the action of the government,” he said.