By Idowu Abdullahi,
As part of measures to mitigate community spread of coronavirus during the festive period, the Niger State Government has issued new guidelines restricting women and children from attending this year’s Ramadan Eid-el-Fitri prayers in the state.
It explained that the restriction was in line with the existing order on social distancing and social gathering statewide which is still in place for compliance despite the partial lifting of ban religious gatherings and congressional prayers.
The State’s Director-General, Bureau for Religious Affairs, Umar Farooq Abdullahi, said the restriction of women and children, amongst others from eid prayers in the state was to facilitate a short and precise exercise marking the end of Ramadan.
Abdullahi, through a statement released to newsmen on Thursday, also revealed that the prayers are to be observed in various Juma’at Mosques across the state with the recitation of a short Surat(chapters) and brief sermons.
He listed other guidelines to facilitate the commencement of Eid prayers in the state to include: brief and precise activities during the prayers section; adhering to medical guidelines, such as hand washing or the use of hand sanitizers, social distancing, and the use of face-masks.
According to him, as part of the guidelines, worshippers are to proceed to their various homes immediately after prayers, adding that all forms of gatherings thereafter is prohibited during the festival.
Abdullahi encouraged the public to be aware of the dangers of COVID-19 and advise citizens to continue to be conscious of the virus as a threat to life, property, and security.
However, the DG Bureau for Religious Affairs urged the general public and other stakeholders to comply with the guidelines listed for the festival prayers, noting that defaulters arrested by the state government and her enforcement agencies will be made to face the music.