Muslims opt out of Ekiti government’s reopening of churches, mosques
State says only certified worship centres will reopen
As the religious centres reopen for operations today in Ekiti State after three and half months of closure amid COVID-19 pandemic, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Ekiti chapter, has suspended reopening of all major mosques across the state.
The state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, had recently announced that all churches and mosques operating in Ekiti State could commence operation on July 17, 2020, after acquiring a certificate of fitness before commencing worshipping.
But a statement signed by the President, NSCIA, Ekiti State Chapter, Alhaji Yaqubu Sanni, yesterday, said the suspension of activities in mosques was taken because all the safety protocols could not be met within the time-frame stipulated by the government.
“Muslims in the government committee on reopening of worship centres and health officers educated members on how to guard themselves against COVID-19 and conditions to be met before the reopening of mosques in the state.
“After reviewing the guidelines, it was agreed that the conditions for reopening of mosques as discussed could not be met within the stipulated time-frame, that is between now and July 17, 2020.
“Hence, it was resolved that the Muslims in Ekiti State would hold on for a while in preparations to meet the conditions laid down,” Sanni said.
The NSCIA, however, lauded the state government for the steps taken to safeguard the lives of worshippers in Ekiti State against the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the government said only religious centres with coronavirus prevention facilities would be allowed to resume activities, while certificates of compliance must be received from the ministry to authenticate their readiness to reopen.
The Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Gbenga Agbeyo, who stated this in Ado-Ekiti, yesterday, insisted that no religious centre would be allowed to resume without complying with the stipulated guidelines to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
He said that all the churches and mosques must comply with the COVID-19 safety protocols, saying that provision of requisite facilities remains the pre-requisite for reopening.
Agbeyo, who debunked the rumour of payment of N2,000 for issuance of certificate after fumigation, said: “The ministry had met with the leadership of the religious bodies, including Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and they have agreed to bear the cost of fumigating their premises themselves as certificates will be issued at no cost.”