COVID-19: Gombe lifts ban on religious worship

The Gombe State Government has suspended the ban placed on Congregational worship at mosques and churches, with some conditions attached.

Making the announcement after a meeting with religious leaders in Gombe, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, said places of worship could be opened, only when members wear face masks, keep social and physical distance, as well as maintain regular hands washing and the use of hand sanitizers.

Governor Yahaya said members of aid groups in mosques and the Boys Brigade in churches would be trained to ensure full compliance and the enforcement of the protective measures.

He said face masks would be distributed across all worship centres, but urged people to make durable face masks for themselves, so that they could rewash and reuse.

The Gombe State Governor also said, “whenever the commodities were supplied to the state, the places of worship would be given their own share”.

He, however, warned that any violation of the measures would force him to reverse the decision to ease the lockdown, because “he would not afford to compromise the health of the people of the state”.

The Governor cited examples in some parts of the world, where such ease was introduced, only to escalate the rate of infections in those countries.

He called on the religious leaders to ensure that the conditions agreed on by both religions in the state were adhered to.

Collective decision

Responding to the development, the General Secretary of the Jama’atul Nasril Islam in Gombe State, Malam Saleh Danburam, said the development was a collective decision by both faiths of which they pledged to abide.

“All the rules and regulations that are given by the government and then the experts, particularly the doctors are going to be adhered to. Then secondly, the aid group and the Boys Brigade are going to be trained and the government has planned for their training this afternoon” Malam Danburam said.

The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Gombe State, Reverend Ibrahim Joda, said the decision to reopen places of worship was a big relief, because the lockdown was like a strong bondage.

Reverend Joda also pledged on behalf of the Church that members would abide by the new regulations.

“The Church will be happy today, because we will continue with our worship in the worship centres. We intend to reach out to the blocks, which will in turn inform the relevant leaders of the Boys Brigade, who would be able to receive the training and subsequently pass it down to the rest of the members. But the Church will abide by what the government has said,” Reverend Joda said.

The decision by Governor Yahaya to suspend the ban on congregational worship was triggered by complaints from the public that, while the worship centres were closed, the markets were opened and people were mingling without adherence to the protective measures.

Source: Voice of Nigeria