By Ayo Kehinde
Worshippers in Lagos who have been looking forward to the re-opening of churches and mosques may have to wait indefinitely as the Lagos State Government on Tuesday said it was not in a hurry to do so in the light of rising coronavirus disease in the state, currently the epi-center of the infections with 5,135 confirmed cases, 4,255 on admission, 825 discharged and 55 deaths out of the 10,578 confirmed cases in the country.
The Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, made this statement the 2020 Ministerial Press Briefing commemorating the first year in office of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The Federal Government had on June 1 lifted the ban on mosques and churches in the country based on guidelines and protocols agreed with state governments.
Elegushi said the reopening of the worship centres was not possible soon as the state was the epi-centre of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “Even before the pronouncement by Federal Government, we have been having meetings with the religious leaders.
“We even had one with Lagos State Safety Commission, looking at the possibility of reopening of religious houses.
“We also had one with the leaders of the two faiths. And I want to tell you categorically that at that meeting, possibility of reopening religious houses was ruled out totally. They claimed that they cannot take such responsibility of ensuring that only 20 or 50 people are praying behind them.
“Like an Imam said, he doesn’t know what is going on at the back immediately he is leading a prayer. He said if more than 20 or 50 people are staying at his back, he is not going to take responsibility for their presence.
“So, in the meeting, we ruled out in totality the issue of reopening the religious houses until we have a clear coast for us to do so.
“The Federal Government mentioned it, but it never ruled out the state in achieving that pronouncement. So all states will have to look at possibility of doing so in their respective states. We all know Lagos is still having more figures. So definitely that will speak to our decision.”