By James Ogunnaike – Abeokuta
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun on Friday said that the State may reopen religious centres across the state on June 19, saying that this depends on the outcome of proposal submitted by different religious leaders in the state.
Abiodun, who disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the update and efforts of the state to combat COVID-19 pandemic at the Governor’s Office in Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, said a sub committee has been put in place to look into the proposals submitted by the religious leaders for the reopening of the religious centres in Ogun state.
Abiodun said, “we would engage the religious leaders to work out modalities for gradual lifting of restrictions on religious activities in the state”.
“The engagement process has commenced. Indeed, we have invited and received written submissions from both the Christian Association of Nigeria and the League of Imams and Alfas on their suggestions on how the restrictions on places of worship can be relaxed.
“Subsequent to the submissions, the representatives of the two religious bodies also jointly held meetings with high-level representatives of government to discuss the submissions. This is in line with our inclusive approach to governance”.
“We believe that the approach will ensure that the final decisions that will be arrived at will enjoy the buy-in and ownership of the religious leaders who will in turn communicate these to their respective congregation.
The governor added that “government appreciates the cooperation of the religious leaders over time in the fight against this common enemy, particularly, their submissions on relaxation of restrictions on religious activities, which are practical, similar and mutually reinforcing”.
“A sub-committee, inclusive of the religious leaders, will review the submissions, the discussions as well as expert opinions of medical scientists to harmonise all the views to arrive at a composite framework for final adoption of the committee in the next few days, on or before Friday, 12th June, 2020”.
“The 12th June deadline for the completion of the guidelines, which will be unveiled to the public in my next address is to enable the gradual opening of religious activities to tentatively commence on Friday, 19th, June, 2020, subject to the review of preparedness by our churches and mosques to the new normal”.
“A taskforce comprising of the religious leaders, government and security agencies will be established to monitor and ensure compliance with the agreed guidelines for religious activities; any place of worship that violates the guidelines will be closed”.