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Ban all forms of open worship and gatherings, lawmakers urge FG

THE MEMBERS of the House of Representatives on Wednesday urged the federal government to ban all forms of open worships and gatherings in other to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in Nigeria.

Following the announcement of five new confirmed cases of coronavirus by the Federal Ministry of Health, Lawmakers called on the federal government to ban public worships and gatherings and all flights coming from all countries into Nigeria.

Ndudi Elumelu (PDP) member representing Aniocha North/Aniocha South/ Oshimili North and South Federal Constituency proposed an amendment to urge Federal Government to ban all airlines entering the country unless they meet safety standards and are certified by the Port Health Authorities.

He also called on the aviation ministry to enforce passport regulation that stops airport touts from loitering.

The Speaker of the House Femi Gbajabiamila, in a reply to calls for a ban on all airlines reminded members that banning all airlines from entering the nation would mean Nigerians wishing to come home from schools from abroad might be stranded in their bid to return home.

The lawmakers further stated it had banned visitors to the National Assembly describing the Coronavirus outbreak as a matter of public importance which should be treated with urgency.

Ossai N. Ossai (PDP) member representing Ndokwa/Ukwani Federal Constituency, Delta State proposed an amendment that management should ensure everyone visiting the National Assembly complex to be properly tested at every point of entry.

Speaking on the call by the lawmakers to ban open worship and gatherings, The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Lagos state chapter stated that the level of Coronavirus infection in the nation does not yet warrant ban on religious gathering and activities.

Citing the Nation’s report, CAN however, said religious organisation, especially churches and mosques, must take proactive measures to safeguard members from infection.

Apostle Alexander Bamgbola, Chairman Lagos state CAN told reporters on Wednesday that Nigeria must do everything to win the war against the virus.

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“The Federal Government must further secure our borders. Many nations are doing this very seriously now. We must also act now as a nation, our nation cannot afford to welcome or accommodate Coronavirus in our land. God forbid it in Jesus name, “Alexander said.

Meanwhile the state Commissioner for Information Lagos State, Mr Gbenga Omotosho, has stated the state government will ask religious leaders to stop Friday (Juma’at) and Sunday service in the interest of the public.

Further reacting to the coronavirus increase in Nigeria and the first suspected case in Katsina State, Aminu Masari Katsina, the state Governor,  in a communique read after a closed-door meeting on Wednesday announced that Governors of North-West zone had agreed on the closure of all schools in the zone.

The meeting held in Kaduna, revealed the closure was for 30 days, and was to take effect from March 23, 2020, noting that it had become necessary in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the zone.

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