The Kaduna State Government has advised Imams not to hold Juma’at services as part of efforts to restrict religious services and all large gatherings, in a bid to reduce the chances of spreading the coronavirus pandemic.
A statement by the spokesman of the governor, Muyiwa Adekeye on Friday said that the administration is taking a cue from the decision of the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Islam, not to hold such prayers in the two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madina.
He directed all daily congregational prayers to be suspended until the coronavirus situation is clearly contained.
According to Adekeye, ’while no case of COVID-19 has been reported in Kaduna state so far, the government has a duty to work with all the leaders and residents of the state to jointly ensure that everything is done to reduce the chance of the disease taking root and spreading in the state.
‘’In many Muslim-majority countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, members of the public are encouraged to pray at home, and not congregate as it is the practice in normal times”.
The Special Adviser further said that church services should be suspended, adding that Christian faithful should learn from the experience of many Christian-majority countries like Italy, France, and Germany.
‘’Pastors, as well as congregants, are expected to abide by public health advice and avoid gatherings in churches. While Other means of worship and fellowship should be adopted in much smaller numbers of not more than 10 persons, for now.
“Public health expert advice is that large gatherings of more than 10 persons are not advisable at this point, and any assembly of more than 50 persons are therefore prohibited in Kaduna State until further notice.’’
He noted that the government has already announced the closure of all schools – all nursery and primary schools, secondary schools and all tertiary institutions effective Monday, 23rd as part of the required containment measures.
‘’Accordingly, the state government has directed the immediate closure of the campuses of our KASU, Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, College of Education and of Nursing and Midwifery for 30 days in the first instance.
“Social gatherings in parties, bars, restaurants, night clubs, public parks, and such places are suspended until further notice.’’
He urged all citizens, including religious and community leaders, to do their duty in supporting these measures which will help in significantly protecting the larger society from the negative impacts of COVID-19.