By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday resumed juma’at prayer at the State House Mosque after the new guidelines on religious gathering was released.
The Friday juma’at prayers at the mosque was suspended as a result of the outbreak of the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic in compliance with the social distancing order to contain the virus.
But the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Tuesday released new guidelines to ease the lockdown, saying worship centres will only be permitted to operate for a maximum of one hour each time they meet.
The coordinator of the Task Force, Sani Aliyu, had while reeling out the new guidelines said that churches and mosques are only allowed to operate between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.
He further said that each service should last a maximum of one hour to allow time for disinfection.
He also said Friday prayers in mosques should not exceed one hour.
He had said, “For churches, each service should be for a maximum of an hour with an interval of 30 minutes in between services to allow time for disinfection.
“Mosques may open 15 minutes before and 10 minutes after prayers. The total time for Friday prayers should not exceed an hour.”
The guidelines strongly discourage all close contact including shaking of hands, hugging, kissing, handing out of materials and sharing of worship implements including prayer mats, musical organs, microphones etc.
All those (Grade Level 14 and above) who participated in the prayer were thoroughly screened and each wore a mask and also sanitized their hands, as safety measures.
Social distancing was also strictly observed in line with guidelines on public gathering.
Visitors to the Villa were who wanted to joined the prayers were politely excused by the security aides.
President Buhari was joined by his senior personal aides.