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Kwara, Islamic clerics disagree on reopening of worship centres

kwara islamic clerics disagree on reopening of worship centres 5eeafcd466e87

Tunde Oyekola, Ilorin

The Kwara State Government and the Council of Ulamau on Wednesday held divergent views on the reopening of worship centres in the state as government insisted that the fumigation of mosques and churches and mandatory use of thermometers were not preconditions for reopening of worship centres.

The state Council of Ulamau had in a statement signed by its Secretary, Justice Salihu Mohammad, announced the commencement of Jumat prayers across the state beginning from Friday,  June 19, 2020, adding that the government had agreed to fumigate mosques in the state.

Mohammad said, “The government has agreed in principle to fumigate mosques across the state in order to curtail the spread of the coronavirus disease among worshippers.

 “All ablution and toilet points in all our mosques will remain open at all times. Provision of soaps, running water for the congregation to wash their hands properly before entering the mosque and the use of soap against the use of sanitizer, has been approved.”

However, the government in a statement by Rafiu Ajakaye, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor and spokesperson for COVID-19 Technical Committee in the state, said, “Fumigation of mosques and churches and mandatory use of thermometers are not preconditions for reopening of worship centres. People of all ages can worship once they abide by the safety protocols of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.”

The clarifications came at a meeting the government held with the ad hoc committee of the Kwara State Council of Ulamah (set up by the Emir of Ilorin) in Ilorin, ahead of the official reopening of Jumat services across the state.

The meeting was presided over by the Deputy Governor, Kayode Alabi.

The meeting reiterated that mosques and churches can open and may be attended by persons of all ages and genders, but with strict adherence to all safety protocols, such as the use of face masks, physical distancing among worshipers, and washing of hands, among others.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Health Matters Professor Wale Sulaiman, who spoke on behalf of the government, said the country was not out of the woods yet given ongoing reports of COVID-19 cases.

The Imam Imale, who spoke on behalf of the Muslim community said the delegation would convey the message of strict adherence to all safety protocols to the public through constant enlightenment – a position reiterated by the Chief Imam of Offa and other religious leaders.

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