Ogun to Prosecute Clerics Reopening Worship Centres

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Governor Dapo Abiodu

Fasua Kayode in Abeokuta

The Ogun State Police Command yesterday in Abeokuta warned that it would prosecute any religious leader caught violating the state government’s fresh order, banning worship centres from opening.

The state governor, Mr. Dapo Abiodun had suspended his initial directive to reopen churches and mosques from June 19, saying field reports on the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the state were grim.

The governor said within one week, six more deaths were recorded, to bring to 15, the number of casualties of the Coronavirus disease in the state.

Consequently, the command warned that any cleric caught with congregation would be viewed as making a deliberate attempt to promote the spread of the virus.

In a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Abimbola Oyeyemi, the command said some religious leaders are already planning to reopen their places of worship, in defiance to the state government’s directive

Oyeyemi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, therefore urged pastors and Islamic clerics in the state “to have a change of mind in their own interests.”

Oyeyemi said the police, “as a responsible organisation that is constitutionally saddled with the responsibility of maintaining law and order”, would not fold its hands watching some people disobey the law.

He also disclosed that all the area commanders and divisional police officers, as well as the command’s Tactical Squads, had been activated and directed to be on surveillance patrol across the state, with a view to bringing any erring religious leader to book.

“Anybody found disobeying the government’s directive will be dealt with. The fight against COVID-19 should be seen as a collective responsibility of everybody, and we should all join hands with the government to defeat the virus once and for all.”