Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Compliance Enforcement team has shut down over 23 neighbourhood mosques and prayer grounds in Maitama, Wuse, Garki and Asokoro districts of the FCT.
They were closed down for violating the ban placed on all worship centres to the public as a measure to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
It was gathered that the affected mosques were closed last 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 in 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 in order to prevent them from contacting the COVID-19 pathogens.
Some of the worshippers were stopped from praying in the mosques, and instead, they were asked to return to their homes and pray since they had already performed ablution.
In other areas which the team arrived later in the night, it was observed that Muslim prayer sessions were being carried out, as the worshipers were warned to henceforth pray at homes as congregating in mosques and prayer grounds was in contravention of the government order.
As part of the 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.