Lagos State Government, on Tuesday, said that churches and mosques in the state cannot reopen immediately.
The state Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, said that worship centres in Lagos, which is the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, would not reopen until there is a “clear coast for the state to do so.”
Elegushi spoke on the sideline of the 2020 Ministerial Press Briefing commemorating Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s first year in office.
Recall that the Federal Government had last Monday announced the lifting of the ban on mosques and churches in the country, based on guidelines and protocols agreed with state governments.
But the commissioner for home affairs said inspite of the Federal Government’s guidelines, the state was examining the possibility of reopening worship centres.
According to Elegushi, “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.
The commissioner added, ”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.
”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.”