Why we can’t risk reopening worship centers now – FCT Minister
By Ben Adoga
The minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, has explained why the Administration cannot risk opening worship places in the FCT yet.
He said the nation’s capital is being guided by advise from medical experts and guidelines from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
The minister explained that the PTF had directed that all measures approved two weeks earlier be extended for another two weeks and these included the restriction on religious gatherings.
He gave the explanation during a meeting between the FCTA and representatives of the FCT Christian and Muslim communities led by the FCT Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Chairman, Dr. Samson Jonah and the FCT League of Imams Initiative, Dr. Tajudeen Mohammed Bello Adigun.
According to the minister, “Based on the guidance of the medical experts and consultations with highest authority, the Presidential Task Force gave a decision and communication on the fact that all the measures approved two weeks ago be extended for another period of time to enable organisations, individuals and all of us plan for a gradual opening up of the society.”
He said the meeting acknowledged that the primary concern of all leaders and public officials was to save lives and this involves monitoring very closely reports from the health authorities, which indicate that after 9 weeks of the pandemic and attempts to curtail its spread not much has changed.”
Bello explained that all actions on the re-opening of the society is hinged on the advice of medical experts who at the moment do not support it.
He called on the leaders of the religious organisations to work towards the eventual reopening of worship places at a time to be determined by the Presidential Task Force, based on medical advice.
The minister explained that a team, consisting of representatives of the religious organisations and their leadership, as well as the FCT has been constituted to gradually look at what the modalities and protocols of operating places of worship will be when COVID-19 lockdown of the FCT is relaxed.
He said that such modalities were not new considering that certain protocols were put in place at the height of insecurity in the country when religious places were the targets for terrorists.
Therefore certain protocols such as use of face masks compulsory hand washing and social distancing will have to be adhered to when places of worship eventually re-open the Minister said.