NSCIA Directs Mosques in Ekiti to Reopen Friday

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By Victor Ogunje

After five months of closure and the lifting of ban on congregations that are more than 20 persons by the Ekiti State Government, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has ordered mosques to reopen Friday.

The council, however, insisted that only mosques that have met all the conditions, which include fumigation of premises, provision of infra red thermometer, sanitizers and hand washing facilities are expected to open.

Governor Kayode Fayemi, had in a statewide broadcast last Thursday, declared that from all indications, churches and mosques in Ekiti have substantially complied with the provision of some Covid-19 precautionary facilities, adding that they were allowed to begin operations on Friday, August 14.

In a statement by the NSCIA President, Ekiti chapter, Alhaji Yakubu Sanni, the body said its investigation has confirmed that substantial numbers of mosques operating in the state are ready to reopen.

Before reopening, Sanni advised that “fumigation of the mosques by the Ministry of Environment is compulsory.

Provision of infra-red thermometer and social spacing of six feet apart are also a must”.

“Individuals should come with their own praying mats and ablution kettles, provision of water to wash hands and hand sanitizer. It is advised that anybody besides the imam above the age of 65 and below the age of 12 should stay away from the mosques.

“The service is expected to start at 1:30 pm and end at 2:30pm. Everybody participating in the prayer should wear nose mask. Number of worshippers in the mosque should be determined by the capacity of the space to contain worshippers standing 6 feet apart.

“It should be ensured that under no circumstances should the worshippers converge to have any meetings or social gathering without maintaining social distancing.

“Mosque management should appoint officials to monitor compliance. May the Almighty Allah bless us as we observe these rules,” it said.

Meanwhile, the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) has expressed displeasure over stringent conditions spelt out for reopening of worship centres in the state.

Speaking with journalists in Ado Ekiti, the CAN Chairman, Rev. Peter Olowolafe, said barring of people below ages 12 and those above 65 from coming to church was too strict a condition that can guarantee the smooth take-off of reopening of churches.

Outlining the conditions that are attached to the reopening of worship centres, Governor Fayemi had said: “The protocols also indicate that there should be no multiple services and services must be concluded within two hours, while children below 12 years of age and elderly people above 65 are not allowed to attend services or Sallat until further notice. An attendance register must be provided by each worship centre to record attendance.

“For avoidance of doubt, only Friday Jumat for Muslims, Saturday Sabbath for Adventists and Sunday services for other Christian denominations are allowed. Weekly and vigil services are not to hold in the meantime.”