EDDY OCHIGBO, Kaduna
As part of its measures to protect residents from the spread of the Coronavirus disease, the Kaduna state government has suspended religious services and all large gatherings of 50 persons until further notice.
NATIONAL ACCORD gathered that although no case of Covid-19 has been reported in the state so far, the government says it’s duty-bound to work with all leaders and residents of in the state to jointly ensure that everything is done to keep the disease at bay and reduce the possibility of its spread in the state.
A statement from Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, signed by the Special Adviser to the Governor (Media & Communication), Muyiwa Adekeye, maintained that Imams are advised not to hold Juma’at services today. In this regard, the government is taking cue from the decision of the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Islam not to hold such prayers in the two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madina.
In many Muslim-majority countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE, members of the public are encouraged to pray at home, and not congregate as is the practice in normal times. The Kaduna State government hereby directs that all daily congregational prayers should be suspended until the coronavirus situation is clearly contained.
The statement further stated that we should learn from the experience of many Christian-majority countries like Italy, France and Germany to suspend church services. Pastors as well as congregants are expected to abide by public health advice and avoid gatherings in Churches. Other means of worship and fellowship should be adopted in much smaller numbers of not more than 10 persons, for now.
Public health experts have reiterated that large gatherings of more than 10 persons are not advisable at this point, and any assembly of more than 50 persons are therefore prohibited in Kaduna State until further notice.
As part of the required containment measures, the state government has already announced the closure of all schools – all nursery and primary schools, secondary schools and all tertiary institutions effective Monday, 23rd March 2020. Accordingly, the state government has directed the immediate closure of the campuses of the Kaduna State University (KASU), Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, College of Education and of Nursing and Midwifery for 30 days in the first instance.
These measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus also known as Covid-19 mean that social gatherings in parties, bars, restaurants, night clubs, public parks and such places are suspended until further notice. In the light of the decision to close all of our schools for 30 days in the first instance, it is logical to discourage other large, high-risk gatherings, the statement added, calling on citizens, including religious and community leaders, to do the needful by supporting the measures which will help in significantly protecting the larger society from the negative impacts of Covid-19.