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COVID-19: Muslims shun Jumat service in Kwara, unable to meet govt conditions

Muslim communities in Kwara State on Friday shunned Jumat services as they said conditions rolled out by the government on re-opening of worship centres in the state are difficult for them to adhere to.

BusinessDay’s checks on some mosques in the state capital, such as Oja Oba Central mosque, Al-hilal and Unilorin mosques discovered were deserted as Muslims prayed the two rakat prayers in their homes.

In their separate reactions, the Council of Ulama in the state and University of Ilorin Community had on Thursday announced their positions.

In its resolutions issued shortly after the council meeting held on Thursday, the Secretary of Council of Ulama, Justice Salihu Olohuntoyin Mohammed (rtd) explained that “The conditions released by the state government are very difficult to adhere to based on our peculiarities.

“Majority of stakeholders are about the age limit of 65 years listed for non-participation in prayers/jumat service. In Islamic parlance, Imams are the leaders of congregations and majority of them are within the age bracket of 65 and above.

“We also observed that each of the conditions listed by the government cannot be implemented due to the fact they are very difficult to be enforced strictly. We urge the government to allow Jumat mosques to remain closed in the interim and ensure review of the guidelines”, he said.

The group therefore maintained that the actions are taken in line with the safety protocols of the federal government/Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC) and advised worshipers to remain law-abiding.

Similarly, the Chief Imam of the University of Ilorin, Nasir Abdusalam (Prof), said that the time is not ripe yet for the reopening of the religious centres of the University’s Muslim Community.

Abdusalam, who made this known Thursday while speaking with newsmen pointed out that the position came after consultations with relevant stakeholders in the community.

“On 12 Shawwal 1441AH (3/6/2020) I held a wide consultation with critical Muslim stakeholders including members of Majlisul ‘Ulamaau, Unilorin Muslim Community (UMC) and the University authority on the recent pronouncement of gradual re-opening of worship centres nationwide.

“The contributions have enabled us to feel the pulse of stakeholders on the practical appraisal of the COVID-19 pandemic situation in our University environment viz-a-viz our religious obligations,” the chief Imam said.

It would be recalled that the Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19 had on Wednesday rolled out some conditions to be adopted ahead of the Friday June 5, 2020 worship centres re-opening.

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