Ogun State Government today has set the machinery in motion towards reopening of worship centres, barely four months after they were closed as part of moves to flatten the curve of Covid-19 infections.
In March, following its ban on high density gathering, the state government banned congregational service at the worship centres, in furtherance to its effort at curtailing the spread of Covid-19.
Early last month, the government met with religious leaders and tentatively fixed reopening of worship centres for June 19, but the planned was later suspended by Governor Dapo Abiodun, who cited rising number of cases for the decision.
However, a government delegation on Wednesday visited churches and mosques in Ijebu, Remo and Egba axis of the state, to ascertain the level of preparedness of worship centers towards reopening of congregational services.
The team comprising three Commissioners, Dr. Tomi Coker (Health); TPL Tunji Odunlami (Physical Planning and Urban Development) and Hon Abiodun Abudu-Balogun (Environment) met with religious leaders and inspected preventive measures put in place by the faith-based organizations.
Speaking on the inspection, the Commissioner for Health, noted that there was mixed reactions among the religious bodies on their level of preparedness. Coker said: “We observed mixed reaction from the religious leaders on their level of preparedness because some have shown that they cannot actually guarantee the safety of their congregants from the COVID-19 pandemic and there are some that have complied with the laid down protocols.”
On his part, Abudu-Balogun, commended some of the worship centres on their level of preparedness towards reopening, while expressing satisfaction on decontamination of the centres.
“We are here on the directive of Governor Dapo Abiodun to ascertain the level of compliance, as well as the preparedness of worship centre towards reopening. From the environmental point of view, we can see a high level of preparedness regarding decontamination of worship centres. What we noticed and needs to be addressed urgently is the ratio of chemical required to decontaminate the premises,” he said.
Responding, the Cathedral Administrator, St. Sebastian’s Cathedral, Odo-Egbo in Ijebu -Ode, Rev. Father Vincent Ajayi, said the visit by the government officials showed the commitment of Prince Dapo Abiodun’s administration towards ensuring the safety of lives of the people.
On his part, Wakilu Musulumi of Yoruba land, Edo and Delta States, Sheikh Iskeel Lawal, said the leadership of the Central Mosque, had regularly engaged the muslim Faithful on COVID-19 safety guidelines, adding that the mosque has procured the needed safety kits, such as thermometers and hand washing materials, to contain the spread among the congregation.