Only Certified Churches, Mosques will Reopen in Ekiti, Says Commissioner

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Kayode Fayemi
Kayode Fayemi

Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

As religious centres reopen today in Ekiti State after three and half months due to COVID-19, the government has directed all religious centres ready to resume service to acquire certificates of fitness before commencing worshipping.

The state government said religious centres with coronavirus prevention facilities would only be allowed to resume activities, while certificates of compliance must be received from the ministry to authenticate their readiness to reopen.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Ekiti State chapter has suspended the reopening of all major mosques across the state.

The state Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, had recently announced that all churches and mosques in the state can commence service on July 17 after the nationwide lockdown barring religious activities which was announced on March 29.

The state Commissioner for Environment, Hon. Gbenga Agbeyo, who said this in Ado Ekiti yesterday, insisted that no religious centres would be allowed to resume without complying with the stipulated guidelines to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

He said all the churches and mosques must comply with the COVID-19 safety protocols to avert the spread of the deadly disease, saying provision of requisite facilities remains the prerequisite for reopening.

Agbeyo said part of the prerequisites is that religious centres must fumigate their premises, and provide running water in front of their buildings to ensure regular hand washing.

“Others are the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, ensure they wear nose covers, make available infrared thermometers for body temperature measurements and maintain social distancing.”

Meanwhile, a statement signed by the President of NSCIA, Ekiti State, Alhaji Yaqubu Sanni, yesterday said the suspension of activities in mosques was taken because all the safety protocols cannot be met within the time frame stipulated by the government.

“Muslims in the government committee on the re-opening of worship centres and health officer educated members on how to guard themselves from COVID-19 and conditions to be met before the re-opening of mosques in the state,” he stated.