CAN reacts to re-opening of places of worship, to follow guidelines by state governments

THE Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) says it will await approved worship guidelines from the respective state governments in order to comply with the re-opening of places of worship approved by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday.

“I believe position of the government is that the state should be able to handle it in collaboration with religious leaders,” Bayo Oladeji, spokesperson to Samson Ayokunle, CAN president told The ICIR in a telephone interview.

Oladeji stated since the Federal Government had given states the liberty to implement appropriate public gathering procedures in line with the existing Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines, CAN  would work with the authorities to comply with the 20 persons public gathering restriction.

“When each state government provides the guidelines for worship, we will examine them critically and then respond appropriately,” he said.

He emphasised that CAN has directed member churches to observe all preventive measures each time they converge.

Boss Mustapha, Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) had on Monday announced that the president had approved the lifting of ban on places worship.

“The PTF submitted its recommendations and the PRESIDENT has approved the following for implementation over the next four weeks spanning 2nd – 29th June, 2020, subject to review,” he said.

“Mobilisation of all resources at State and Local Government levels to create public awareness on COVID 19 and improve compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions within communities; sustenance of key non-pharmaceutical interventions that would apply nationwide and include: ban of gatherings of more than 20 people outside of a workplace;

“Relaxation of restriction on places of Worship based on guidelines issued by the PTF and protocols agreed by state governments.”

Before the announcement, both Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and CAN had made presentations to PTF on the re-opening of places of worship.

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Yusuf Nwoha, NSCIA Director of Administration was contacted for comment on the approval given by the president to re-open places of worship. He only replied ‘ok’ to the message sent to him.  Ibrahim Aselemi, the Council’s Media Officer was also contacted but his line was switched off as of the time of filing this report.

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