FCTA Shuts 23 Mosques, Prayer Grounds over COVID-19 Order Violation

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By Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Compliance Enforcement team has shut over 23 neighbourhood mosques and prayer grounds in Maitama, Wuse, Garki and Asokoro districts of the FCT. They were shut for violating the ban that all places of worship in the FCT should not open for religious activities to the public as a measure to mitigate the spread of coronavirus pandemic.

It was gathered that the affected mosques were closed on Sunday night, which incidentally was the same day the compliance team closed 15 churches and arrested Pastor U.U. Uden, the General Overseer of the Jesus Reign Family Church, Apo for conducting a full church service in breach of the directive.

The enforcement team that was splintered into six different groups went into different districts in Abuja to monitor compliance order during the evening Maghrib prayer.

However, to the shock of the team, it discovered many congregants steadily steaming into mosques without recourse to the social distancing directive banning large number of people from gathering for any activity to prevent them from contracting COVID-19.

Some of the worshippers were stopped from praying in the mosques and instead asked to return to their homes and pray since they had already performed ablution.

In other areas the team arrived later in the night and saw Muslim prayer sessions being carried out, it warned the worshipers to henceforth pray at their homes as congregating in mosques and prayer grounds was in contravention of the government order.

It will be recalled that as a coronavirus safety measure, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) had also ordered the closure of all mosques in the FCT, including the National Mosque and had sought cooperation of all Imams to ensure compliance with the directive.