COVID-19: Lagos warns worship centres, religious leaders against second wave

By Oziegbe Okoeki

The Lagos State government on Monday warned worship centres and religious centres in the state to intensify adherence to safety protocols to avert a second wave of the virus.

This was even as the state government enjoined the residents to eschew violence and tolerate one another in order to continue to enjoy peaceful coexistence.

Speaking at the 2020 International Day for Tolerance, held at NECA House, the state Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, said there was a need for the worship centres to take the issue of safety protocol adherence very seriously to avoid another spike in the pandemic.

The commissioner said that the state government would continue to need the level of tolerance and cooperation received during the spike of the pandemic, adding that the cooperation assisted the State Government in the level of successes recorded and the rate at which the Covid-19 curve was flattened.

He said: “At this juncture, let me reiterate and admonish our beloved people not to relent supporting and understanding the efforts of the Lagos State Government, we should not let down our guards, as it is not yet “Uhuru”, the battle against this dreaded virus is yet to be over. All guidelines and safety protocols of militating against the COVlD-19 should still be stringently adhered to.

“We are all aware that some countries such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and France among others are currently experiencing the 2nd wave of the virus. We cannot afford to allow this to happen, I beseech us to continue to use our face masks, wash our hands frequently, and maintain social distance in public places while also using alcohol-based hand sanitizers from time to time to combat infection or transmission. I believe together, we shall overcome the scourge.”

Elegushi commended Lagos residents for being tolerant with one another; saying during the spike of the pandemic, residents exemplified a high sense of humanity as everyone looked out for the wellbeing and welfare of one another.

He added that the state had indeed faced several health and economic challenges at this time, adding that the Almighty God has been benevolent to Nigeria generally and Lagos State in particular coupled with the resilient spirit known to Lagosians.

He said: “The State Government has observed with a high sense of pride, how Lagos residents had risen to the occasion to partner with government in the area of support and donations as exhibited by well-meaning citizens and corporate bodies in providing succor to residents during and after the lockdown, resultant from the spike of the Coronavirus.

While warming operators of the worship centres to comply with the NCDC guidelines to prevent the second wave of COVID-19, Elegushi said that the state government might be forced to sanction any religious house that failed to obey or comply with the regulations.

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He said there was no time to play with the safety of the worshipers and that of the entire residents by not complying with the COVID-19 preventive measures.

Harping on tolerance, he said there can be no tolerance where love does not exist, adding that Lagosians are sympathetic and are quick to display brotherliness and love when the need arises.

“Together as one, we all assisted the State Government in propagating the health tips and safety protocols as directed by the Lagos State Ministry of Health, we all cried to the Almighty in our various religious places of worship irrespective of tribes, tongue or religious inclinations.

“This is simply an act of tolerance while the lockdown and economic restriction lasted, residents demonstrated a high level of tolerance and endurance by abiding by the rules as stipulated by the Federal and State governments despite the fact that it interfered with their constitutional human rights.”

Elegushi said that the administration of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that the goals and gains of the THEMES agenda are vigorously pursued and delivered for the good and benefit of all and sundry.

He implored residents to exercise patience, tolerance and understanding among themselves.

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