NEWS

Churches, Mosques: Buhari, Governors Strike 5-Point Deal

• Attendance in mosques, churches restricted to 50 persons …
as govs reach out to NSCIA, CAN, SGF
There were indications on Friday that President
Muhammadu Buhari and state governors reached a five-
point agreement on containing the coronavirus disease
while easing the lockdown nationwide.
It was learnt that the deal addressed the apprehension of
some governors on the observance of Sallah prayers and
reopening of worship centres.
A major thrust of the agreement is that gatherings in
mosques or churches and the observance of Eid-el-Fitr
prayers will not exceed 50 people at a time.
Muslims are also not expected to go to any praying ground
but they can use a neighbourhood mosque with only 50
worshippers.
It was gathered that the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’
Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, also had talks with the
President of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs
(NSCIA), Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar, and the President of the
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Supo Ayokunle,
on the understanding reached with the President.
The NGF chairman was also said to have had discussions
with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr.
Boss Mustapha.
Speaking with our correspondent, Fayemi said the governors
held a National Economic Council (NEC) meeting on
Thursday and that their position on public gathering had not
changed, adding that no governor would go against the
agenda.
According to findings, the governors proposed a five-point
agenda concerning the management of the eased
lockdown, which the President endorsed.
The agreement is applicable to all Nigerians, including
Muslims and Christians.
Findings revealed that at the NEC session on Thursday, the
governors were advised to stick to the agreement reached
with the President,
A North-West governor said: “We do not know where all the
noise is coming from as if governors are heady and out to
frustrate the management of COVID-19.
“In easing the lockdown, we presented a five-point agenda
to the President, namely restriction on inter-state
movements; internal relaxation of stay-at-home order
within a time frame; compulsory wearing of masks; and
public gathering, be it social, political or religious, not
exceeding 50.
“The fifth clause in the agreement is that we must increase
testing so that we can be more accurate.”
Another governor said: “The NGF chairman has had robust
discussions with the President of the Nigeria Supreme
Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar,
and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria
(CAN), Rev. Supo Ayokunle, on the pact with the President.
“We therefore got the buy in of NSCIA and CAN on how we
want to go about the easing of the lockdown.
“We were briefed at our meeting on how the NGF leadership
consulted the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on
COVID-19 and other stakeholders on our agenda to ease the
lockdown, especially as it concerns worship centres.
“We have got to a stage where we need to lay the cards on
the table to show that governors have been mutually
consultative.
“What is causing the apprehension nationwide is the fear
that governors may not be able to manage the situation if
they unlock worship centres or during Eid-el Fitr celebration.
“So far, we have spoken to ourselves and reached a
consensus that we will abide by the agreement.
“We even consented to a clause that nobody should come
to the Eid praying ground, central mosque. Instead, Muslims
are expected to use neighbourhood mosques if they cannot
stay at home.”
On the alleged recalcitrant posture of some governors, the
source added: “I think some of them are being pushed by
either some Ulamas or some politicians for electoral
purpose.
“We are however hopeful that no one will violate the five-
point agenda.”
When contacted, the Chairman of NGF, Dr. Kayode Fayemi
said: “Our position on the five-point agenda we gave to the
President has not changed.
“I think no governor will go against the agenda.”

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