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We can’t reopen churches, mosques now – Southwest governors

Churches and mosques in Lagos State may not be reopened to worshippers due to disagreements on protocols and guidelines between the state government and the religious leaders.

The Federal Government had on Monday lifted the ban on mosques and churches in the country.

But fielding questions from journalists on Tuesday at a ministerial press briefing, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, said the possibility of reopening churches and mosques in the state had been ruled out.

Elegushi said, “Even before the pronouncement by the Federal Government, we had been having meetings with the religious leaders; we even had one with the Safety Commission to look at the possibility of reopening religious houses.

“We also had one with the leaders of the two faiths and I want to tell you categorically that at that meeting, the possibility of reopening religious houses was ruled out totally.

“They claimed that they could not take responsibility for ensuring that only 20 or 50 people we praying behind them. For instance, an Imam said he didn’t know what to go on behind him immediately he begins to lead the prayer. He said if more than 20 or 50 people are staying behind him, he would not take responsibility for their presence.

“We all know Lagos is still having high figures. So, definitely that will speak to our decision. But the governor of the state will come out with further directives.”

The commissioner said the state Ministry of Home Affairs had started the process of automating the processing of money lending licences.

He said the state had received 207 applications out of which approvals were granted for 184.

Also, in Ekiti State, places of worship remained shut on Tuesday.

The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Olawale Fapohunda, said a committee set up by the state government would work out modalities for the reopening of the places of worship.

He said, “In Ekiti, we still have to look at our own situation and make appropriate decision as it affects us.”

The state Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev Fr Peter Olowolafe, expressed delight with the presidential directive on reopening of the places of worship.

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