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Lagos Govt. may prolong ban on religious gatherings, activities

By Monsuru Olowoopejo

Barely 24 hours after Federal Government lifted the ban on mosques and churches, indications have emerged that religious gathering and activities in Lagos State may not be lifted following a disagreement on protocols and guidelines between the state government and religious leaders.

This indication emerged after the state government categorically stated that meetings with religious leaders before the apex government’s pronouncement on religious activities were inconclusive in the state.

The Commissioner for Home Affairs, Anofiu Elegushi, told newsmen on Tuesday at a Ministerial press briefing commemorating the first year in office of governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu held in Lagos.

Elegushi hinted that efforts by the government to get religious leaders to accept guidelines on reopening of churches and mosques proved abortive.

He said: ‘’Even before the pronouncement by Federal Government, we have been having a meeting 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 faith 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 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 at 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.’’

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