Kwara State Government on Wednesday said fumigation of mosques or churches and mandatory use of thermometers are not preconditions for reopening of worship centres, saying people of all ages can go worship once they abide by the safety protocols of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The clarifications came at a meeting that the government held with the Ad-hoc Committee of the Kwara State Council of Ulamah (set up by the Emir of Ilorin) in Ilorin, the state capital, ahead of the official reopening of Jumat services across the state.
According to a statement by Rafiu Ajakaye, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor/Spokesman, Kwara State Technical Commitee on COVID-19, the meeting was presided over by Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi, who was flanked by other top government officials.
At the meeting were the Imam Imale of Ilorin and chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee Sheikh Abdullahi AbdulHameed; Secretary of the Council of Ulamah Justice S.O. Muhammad; Justice Idris Haroon; the Chief Imam of Offa Sheikh Muhyideen Hussain; Badmus Yusuf; Yusuf Jimoh Ilala; Khalifah Danfulani Modeboh; Mallam Aliu Jamiu; Rhoda Ajiboye; Saudat Salah AbdulBaqi; Hajiah Risikat Lawal; and Mohammed Ghali Alaya.
The meeting reiterated that mosques and churches can open and may be attended by persons of all ages and genders but with strict adherence to all safety protocols, such as the use of face masks, physical distancing among worshipers, and washing of hands, among others.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Health Matters, Wale Sulaiman, a professor, who spoke on behalf of the government, said that the country is not out of the woods yet given ongoing reports of COVID-19 cases, hence government’s insistence on strict adherence to all safety protocols in order to protect the citizens.
Ghali, who was on the government’s advisory team, said adherence to safety protocols are all that the government has requested for, adding that purchase of infrared thermometers and fumigation of all mosques and churches is not practical, majorly because of its huge economic implications.
The Imam Imale, who spoke on behalf of the Muslim community, commended the government for allowing the reopening of worship centres and for its openness and transparency in the management of the pandemic in the state.
The Imam said the delegation would convey the message of strict adherence to all safety protocols to the public through constant enlightenment — a position reiterated by the Chief Imam of Offa and other religious leaders.
“Our people are very glad about the reopening of our worship places. We also got your messages about the safety protocols and we will convey the same to our people. We are also very glad about your clarification and openness with regards to the issue of thermometers and fumigation.
“On our part, we will do everything possible to making sure people comply with the safety measures.”