ANKARA

Houses of worship in Nigeria’s Lagos state may not be reopened over a disagreement between the state government and state’s religious leaders, despite lifting of the pandemic restrictions on mosques and churches on Monday nationwide, local media reported Wednesday.

The ban remained in force due to the high number of COVID-19 cases, according to the Commissioner for Home Affairs Prince Anofiu Elegushi.

Elegushi noted they have earlier had several meetings regarding the places of worship and they proposed all religious bodies to reduce the attendance of worshippers to 50 worshipers at a time.

“We (..) had one with the leaders of the two faiths [Islam and Christianity] and I want to tell you categorically that at that meeting, possibility of reopening religious houses was ruled out totally,” the Guardian local website quoted him as saying.

“They claimed that they cannot take such responsibility of ensuring that only 20 or 50 people are praying behind them. Like an Imam said he doesn’t know what is going on at his back immediately he is leading a prayer,” he added.

“So in the meeting, we ruled out in totality the issue of reopening the religious houses until we have a clear coast for us to do so. The Federal Government mentioned it, but it never ruled out the state in achieving that pronouncement, so all states will have to look at the possibility of doing so in their respective states,” he noted.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country so far is 10,819 cases with 314 deaths, according to figures compiled by the US-based John Hopkins University.

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