GOVERNOR Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has been urged by the Christian Association of Nigeria (Can) to review the lockdown imposed aimed at combating the spread of coronavirus and open churches and mosques to worshippers.
Nigeria currently has 6,401 cases of coronavirus, of which there have been 192 deaths, with Kaduna State accounting for 152 incidences and three deaths. To halt the spread of the virus, Governor El-Rufai placed a ban on all public gatherings, including worshipping at churches and mosques across the state.
However, religious leaders in the state want to resume worshipping and already the state chapter of the Council of Imams and Ulamas has asked Governor El-Rufai for a review of the lockdown. Now, Can has followed suit, with Reverend John Hayab, the chairman of the Kaduna State chapter, appealed to the governor to consider relaxing the lockdown on Fridays and Sundays to allow both Muslims and Christians to worship in mosques and churches.
Reverend Hayab said: “Places of worship can organise one or two worship sessions with few worshippers while observing physical distancing. Places of worship can provide soap, water, and hand sanitizers for worshippers to use before and after worship.”
He added that the leaderships of the worship centres are prepared to ensure that worshippers comply with the safety protocol recommended for the containment of the virus. Reverend Hayab said allowing worship places to reopen would provide the opportunity for the people to be further sensitised to the need to adhere to the protocol put in place to stop the spread of the virus.
“The coming together of worshippers could enhance the provision of food items and other necessities of life to the needy in both churches and mosques. This will unite members and enable them to share ideas on the way forward for the state and the country as a whole.
“The most important thing that we will do both as Christians and Muslims would be to offer fervent prayers in our congregations for God to intervene and deliver humankind from the Covid-19 calamity. Can’s Kaduna State chapter appreciates the tireless efforts of the state government through the State Standing Committee on Covid-19 headed by deputy governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, for all that has been done to ensure that the spread of the deadly disease is curtailed,” Reverend Hayab added.
He noted that since the Covid-19 lockdown, Kaduna State government had initiated steps to find a lasting solution to the spread of the pandemic. Reverend Hayab added that the state government performed credibly through the combined efforts of health experts, security agencies, religious leaders, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders to cushion the effect of the pandemic.