COVID-19: Nigerian govt cautions religious leaders against flouting stay-at-home directives | Ripples Nigeria
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COVID-19: Nigerian govt cautions religious leaders against flouting stay-at-home directives

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Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government on Friday cautioned religious leaders against holding Easter services and Friday Jumat in defiance of the stay-at-home directive put in place to check the spread of coronavirus in the country.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made the call on a Nigeria Television Authority (NTA)’s programme, “Good Morning Nigeria” in Abuja.

The minister, who was giving update on the activities of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, decried the situation where some section of Nigerians are disobeying the government’s directives on the pandemic.

He said: “What we have today is that some people are not obeying the directive and they are still congregating.

“I hear some religious leaders are saying that nobody can prevent them from conducting their Jumat and Easter Service.

“You therefore begin to wonder if they are true Christians or true Muslims.

“If they are true Christians, where do they take their compass from?

“Is it from the Queen who is the head of the Anglican Church or the Pope who is the head of the Catholic Church because we know their positions on the coronavirus.

“People cannot be more Catholic than the Pope and be more Muslim than Prophet Muhammed.

“If Saudi Arabia can stop Umrah which annually attracts about seven million religious tourists and adherents and say you don’t have to come for prayers, who are they to call for congregation?

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“Even the Pope has to give his homily through television and online, then what is our problem?

The minister said the government understood that issues of religion are very sensitive and the government would continue to engage religious leaders on the matter.

He recalled that as parts of the engagement, the Chairman of the Task Force, Boss Mustapha, met with the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, His Grace, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, saying they were pleasantly surprised at the level of cooperation they received from clergy.

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