By Benjamin Omoike
Lagos State government on Wednesday suspended all religious gatherings above 50 people for four weeks over the spread of the Coronavirus.
The enforcement takes immediate effect.
The decision was announced by the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Olanrewaju Anofiu Elegushi, after extensive deliberations within religious leaders including leadership of the Lagos Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and Islamic leaders.
In a communique after the deliberation, the Commissioner said the decision was taken in the interest of Lagosians.
“We met with religious leaders both Christians and Muslims. We discussed, argued and realised the lives of Lagosians is important to us. Let me assure you the state government is not insensitive to religious activities. We are concerned only the living can worship God. Having discussed extensively, the heads of religious bodies agreed government should embark on massive education of the virus at the grassroots level. Health workers should up their games while more should be recruited. Hospitals should be compelled to attend to people without prejudice. In view of this we have decided to suspend all religious activities above 50 people and the enforcement starts with immediate effect,” the commissioner said.
He added a 15-man committee has been set up involving top religious leaders to ensure compliance.
Speaking after the announcement, the chairman, CAN, Lagos State, Prof. Apostle Alexander Bamgbala said the association is glad with the development.
“We are going to follow the directive of the government. We are at a critical moment in our nation. God has been hearing our prayers concerning Coronavirus.
In view of the increase in number of infected cases, we must be proactive. It is not about religion but survival. We need to listen to government and be proactive so that God will continue to answer us,” he said.