A Nigerian government department has announced plans to conduct a three-day fasting and praying exercise over ‘incessant’ deaths of its staff members.
The National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) said in an October 23 circular seen by PREMIUM TIMES that its officials should gather at its headquarters in Abuja for the exercise between October 30 and November 1.
“All Christian brethren at the headquarters will gather at the fellowship chapel of the head office, Block ‘B’ Ground Floor” between 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. daily,” the memo said.
“All Muslim brethren at the headquarters will observe their prayers at the mosque,” it added.
Bala Ayenajeh, the agency’s head of administration, who signed the memo on behalf of the director-general, said all Christian and Muslim staff members based at the agency’s branches away from Abuja should also fix their meeting points for prayers.
The memo did not say how many officials had died recently to prompt calls for a spiritual intervention, but Mr Ayenajeh told PREMIUM TIMES during a visit to the commission on Monday that two staff members had died this year and one died last year.
He said the three deaths were too tragic for the agency to absorb and believed a remarkable moment of candour was necessary to avert further mysterious deaths.
Mr Ayenajeh did not immediately clarify whether or not taxpayers’ money was earmarked for the exercise.
The situation at the NCMM mirrored the realities of people of Borno State, where Governor Babagana Zulum recently procured the services of Saudi-based Nigerian clerics for prayers against Boko Haram insurgency and other insecurity. The state government also did not disclose the funding for the 30 Muslim clerics that were engaged.