The governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, has announced the cancellation of the Congregational prayers, which is part of the Eid-ul-Adha celebration.
Eid-ul-Adha, an annual religious festival celebrated by Muslims, has been slated for July 30.
The state government had earlier hinted on the need to meet with the religious leaders in the state to deliberate on ways to curb the spread of COVID-19 and protocols to be followed for the celebration.
“Because of the huge numbers that are expected to gather for the special Eid prayers and the possibility of such gatherings leading to spike in our cases and potential deaths, the government, in consultation with the Council of Ulamah under His Royal Highness the Emir of Ilorin Dr Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, hereby cancels congregational Eid prayers for 2020 across the whole state,” Mr AbdulRazaq said while addressing journalists on Friday.
He noted that the decision, although a tough one, was borne out of the unprecedented jump in the number of COVID-19 cases.
As of the time reporting, the state has 707 confirmed cases, out of which 449 are active.
“We have successfully managed and discharged 244 patients to rejoin their families. And just yesterday, we lost another patient. That brings to 15 the number of casualties from the pandemic in our state. May God rest the souls of the departed ones and comfort their families.”
Mr AbdulRazaq said in the last few days, between July 9 and July 23, the state recorded 56 per cent of its total confirmed cases.
“This points to a grim situation that requires drastic measure. For this reason, the government has consulted widely with religious, labour, transport workers, and market leaders, and has taken the following measures in the overall interest of the people that we lead.”
Reading out the protocols, he stated that there will be Friday prayers as have been restored but in strict compliance with the rules of physical distancing and the use of face masks.
“The Kwara Mall (ShopRite), the Amusement Park, all shops and markets are to be shut on the Eid Day and the day after it. The Unilorin Zoological Garden should also be closed for those two days.”
He added that, following consultation with the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, the government has suspended vigils until further notice.
“Church services should also not exceed 2 hours with full compliance with the safety measures in place. The ban on concerts, clubbing, beer parlours and bars, and related activities remains in full force. Guests at any wedding programme or reception must not exceed 50 (persons) at one time.”
Also, the governor announced that the government’s task force will enforce the rules as well as the compulsory use of face mask which incidentally becomes operational on the Eid Day and mobile courts will be on ground to try any offenders after which convicts would face appropriate sanctions to be determined by the court.