The Borno State Government has recommended the suspension of three imams for defying the lockdown order in the state.
The state deputy governor, Umar Kadafur, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN), in Maiduguri on Friday while monitoring compliance with the stay-at-home directive in the state capital.
“The erring Imams include Goni Isa of Flatari North, Goni Bashir CMC Lawan Bukar and Goni Gabchiya, Imam of University of Maiduguri.
“They are aware of the lockdown order but went ahead to call for the Jummat congregational prayers, an action against the directive of the government to safeguard its people against COVID-19.
“It is unfortunate that some people are taking the COVID-19 pandemic lightly, which explains why they were defying the lockdown order.
“We shall send their names to the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Umar-Ibn Garbai who is the Chairman of the Borno State Traditional Rulers Association, to direct the Chief Imam of the state to suspend them from conducting further congregation,” he said.
He said the surveillance team will enforce the lockdown directive, apprehend and isolate travellers who attempted to sneak into the town through different entry points into the state.
“The Committee also observed that in spite of the lockdown and closure of various entry points in the state, these returnees used other routes to gain access to the state through Damaturu to Gaidam en-route Bosso, Niger Republic into Damasak.
“Another point being utilised by motorists is Gombe to Biu and Damboa then Maiduguri, while in some cases they travel through Madagali to Gwoza and Bama then into Maiduguri.
“It is also disappointing to note that out of desperation, some motorists and passengers risk their lives crossing through the route where they can be vulnerable to attacks by Boko Haram along Benishaik and accessed Gubio or Magumeri LGAs then to Maiduguri,” the deputy governor said.
Mr Kadafur said the government would track and arrest all the violators.
“The government would no longer tolerate violators of the total lockdown order imposed on non-essential movements in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19,” he said.
NAN reported that the Chief Imam of Borno, Laisu Ibrahim, had earlier warned all clerics against congregation prayers, both Jummat and five daily prayers in the Metropolis, in compliance to COVID-19 lockdown imposed on the state.