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LAGOS STATE APPROVES OF REOPENING OF CHURCHES AND MOSQUES

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Despite the ban lifted on religious gatherings by the Federal Government, Lagos State Government previously insisted that religious centres remain closed until there is a clear coast for the state to do this.

The Commissioner of Home Affairs of Lagos State, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, said this during the 2020 Ministerial Press Briefing on Tuesday.

The Commissioner said, “Even before the pronouncement by Federal Government, we have been having meetings with the religious leaders, we even had one with Safety Commission, looking at the possibility of reopening of religious houses.

”We also had one with the leaders of the two faiths 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 the 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, in 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”.

However on Thursday, the Lagos State Government has approved the reopening of religious centres on Fridays and Sundays for Muslims and Christians respectively from June 21, 2020. Mr. Gboyega Akosile, spokesman to the Lagos State Governor, gave the guidelines for reopening as religious centres as follows, “All religious centres (churches and mosques) must be 40% of the venue’s capacity. No hugging, handshakes, serving of food e.g. the holy communion etc in any religious centre.

“Muslim services to resume on 19th June while Christian worship begins on the 21st of June, 2020. Children below age 15 not allowed. Religious gatherings are restricted to Fridays and Sundays only,” he added.

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