By Rotimi Ojomoyela – Ado-Ekiti
The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has ordered mosques to reopen for services Friday across the 16 local government areas of Ekiti state.
The council, however, insisted that only the mosques that have met all the conditions, which including fumigation of premises, provision of infrared thermometer, sanitizers, handwashing facilities and strict compliance to the COVID-19 protocols will be allowed to open for worshippers.
Governor Kayode Fayemi had in a statewide broadcast last Thursday declared that from all indications, churches and mosques in Ekiti have substantially complied with the provision of some Covid-19 precautionary facilities and said they are allowed to begin operations on Friday, August 14.
In a statement by the NSCIA President, Ekiti state chapter, Alhaji Yakubu Sanni, said an investigation by the religious body confirmed that substantial numbers of mosques operating in the state are ready to reopen.
Before reopening, Sanni advised that “fumigation of the mosques by the ministry of environment is compulsory. Provision of an infra-red thermometer and social spacing of 6ft apart is also a must.
“Individuals should come with their own praying mats and ablution kettles, provision of water to wash hands and hand sanitizer. It is advised that anybody besides the imam above the age of 65 and below the age of 12 should stay away from the mosque.
“The service is expected to start at 1:30 and end at 2:30. Everybody participating in the prayer should wear a nose mask. The number of worshippers in the mosque should be determined by the capacity of the space to contain worshippers standing 6 feet apart.
“It should be ensured that under no circumstances should the worshippers converge to have any meetings or social gathering without maintaining social distancing.
“Mosque management should appoint officials to monitor compliance. May the Almighty Allah bless us as we observe these rules.”
Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN) has expressed displeasure over stringent conditions spelt out for the reopening of the worshipping centres.
The CAN chairman, Rev Fr Peter Olowolafe had noted the debarring of people below ages 12 and those above 65 from coming to church was too strict a condition that can guarantee smooth take-off of churches.