- Muslim, Christian clerics laud cancellation of Eid prayers in Kwara, declare support for government
Nigeria’s Kwara State Government has announced the cancellation of Eid-ul-adha (Sallah) congregational prayers across the state, citing the steep rise in the state’s Covid-19 cases and the danger of such a large gathering worsening the situation.
The government, which announced this in a statement, also declared a ban on vigils in churches and mosques while restating the ban on concert, clubbing, beer parlour, and bar in hotels.
Kayode Alabi, Deputy Governor and Chairman of the Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19, the statement issued by Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Rafiu Ajakaye, read, told a news briefing in Ilorin, the capital city, that the decision to cancel the Eid prayers was a painful but necessary one to save lives.
He said the government is setting up a task force to enforce all the new directives, including new guidelines on transport unions and market associations.
The Kwara State shopping mall (Shoprite), the Amusement Park, markets, and University of Ilorin Zoological Garden are to close down on Eid Day and the day after Eid, according to the Deputy Governor.
The briefing was attended by cabinet members; police commissioner Kayode Egbetokun; State Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp Bello Ale; representatives of the Council of Ulamah the Imam Imale of Ilorin Sheikh Abdullah AbdulHameed and Justice Salihu Muhammed; representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria (Kwara) Pastor Moses Popoola; leader of the state transport union AbdulRazaq Ariwoola; representatives of the bankers’ committee led by Victor Inyang; and representatives of the market associations in the state, among others.
The Imam Imale re-echoed the worries of the state government and called on the people to abide by the directives on Eid and other decisions that had been taken following consultations with various stakeholders, including the Council of Ulamah.
“The government has our full support accordingly and we urge our people to abide by the directives,” Sheikh AbdulHameed said.
Pastor Popoola, for his part, expressed the support of the CAN for the government’s directives, including the one on vigil, adding that those decisions had been taken to save human lives.
Egbetokun said the security agencies would enforce the directives, urging residents of the state to comply.
“It is really not about arrest. This is about human lives. All of us have a role to play in enforcing the directives and combat this pandemic. I want to state however that we will not hesitate to arrest and prosecute violators,” he said.