Coronavirus: House Urges FG to Ban Open Religious Gathering


By Adedayo Akinwale and Udora Orizu

The House of Representatives has called on the federal government to ban open congregation of worshippers for the time being following the recording of five new cases of coronavirus in the country.

The Green Chamber also resolved to shut out visitors from coming into the House indefinitely, while calling on the National Assembly management to immediately make provision for the testing of any entrant into the legislative House.

The decision of the House was sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance moved by Hon. Zakare Chawai on the need to ban foreign airlines coming into the country.

In his lead debate, Chawai said in the occasion that foreign airlines were banned especially from coronavirus ravaged countries, there was need for the federal government to put in place all necessary protocols and palliative measures.

Chawai said that sporting activities had been banned in some countries because of the ravaging virus, stressing that Nigeria needs to look inward and take similar decision.

In his submission, the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu said open religious gathering should be banned for now as it was done in countries like the Vatican City, Iran and Saudi Arabia to curtail the spread of the virus.

Contributing, Hon. Rotimi Afe, said that it was not about banning the foreign airlines alone, adding that people are still coming in through the country’s land border.

He said for instance people come in to the country by bus from Ghana, a country that had recorded six cases of Coronavirus.

Afe noted that it was equally important for House members not to engage in hand shaking any longer.

The House however resolved that Nigeria should sign agreement with Singapore for the supply of test kits for the virus, while also adding that public institutions should have temperature testing kits.

It added, “As it was done in Vatican, as it was done in Iran and Saudi Arabia to ban or stop for now open worship – the congregation of worshippers.”

The House also resolved that the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire should brief the House every week, but it however rejected the idea of shutting down all schools across the country for 14 days.