The Lagos State Government has banned all religious gatherings expected to consist of over 50 people within the state, saying that the move had become imperative in order to mitigate spread of coronavirus amongst its people.
It explained that globally observed trends of spread of the novel viral disease had shown that group gatherings and maintaining close proximity with others till the threat of the global pandemic was taken under control, was best dissauded and refrained from.
The ban came few hours after the state had confirmed four new cases of the corona virus, in its largest case report as yet, and as a result of which total cases recorded in Lagos was increased to seven.
According to the government, decision to ban religious gathering was reached on Wednesday after a meeting between Lagos State Government officials and religious bodies including Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), held at the Press Centre, Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja.
Reading a communique after the meeting, Commissioner for Home Affairs, Anofiu Elegushi, said the meeting agreed that all large religious gathering of over 50 people should be suspended with immediately.
Elegushi hinted that the suspension would last for four weeks, with a necessary review expected to be carried out considering state of the virus in the state.
He added that a committee had been set up to monitor the enforcement of the suspension to ensure that both Muslims and Christians in the state abide by the decision.
To ensure compliance, the commissioner disclosed that a 15-member committee comprises representatives of Muslims and Christians, would be deployed to ensure none of the religious organisations violates the law.
Elegushi also said the meeting agreed that the state government should embark on massive sensitisation of people at the grassroots on the need to embrace proper hygiene, adding, that the meeting agreed that all health workers in the state should up their games in the battle against Coronavirus.
Elegushi stated that it was agreed that the Federal Government should shutdown borders, especially land borders to checkmate the influx of foreigners into Lagos in order to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
The commissioner said the state government would immediately embarked on massive sensitisation of residents to be more aware of the danger posed by Coronavirus.
Elegushi appealed to Lagosians to desist from handshaking and to always wash their hands with soap and water or made use of sanitisers.
Responding, Chief Imam of Lagos State, Oluwatoyin Abou-Nolla, said the action of the state government was commendable, urging all Muslim leaders to abide by the decision and to also make personal hygiene a priority.
Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Apostle Alexander Bamgbola said the nation was at a critical point, stressing that since the outbreak of Coronavirus, Christians had been praying.
“We are at a critical moment in Nigeria, since we heard this, we have been praying. We have listened carefully to one another, particularly the government. The responsibility of every government is to protect the lives of the people.
“We must be proactive and take preventive measures. It is no longer the issue of religion but survival. We are going to accelerate the education of our people. We must listen to the instruction of the government and take the instruction seriously. We agree with the action of the government,” he said.
Violators of coronavirus lockdown face jail term as Lagos assembly passes new law
The Lagos state house of assembly on Thursday passed into law an emergency bill to help the state combat coronavirus.
Of the 51 confirmed cases of the virus in Nigeria, the state has the highest number, 32.
On Thursday, the state lawmakers passed the “Emergency Coronavirus Pandemic Bill 2020” personally sponsored by Mudashiru Obasa, the speaker, into law.
It affords Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor, the legislative concurrence to spend an initial N20 billion to effectively contain the virus and enforce compliance by Lagosians.
The bill was presented on the floor of the chamber by Noheem Adams, deputy majority leader, after which it scaled the first and second readings and was passed to the committee on health for further deliberation.
The bill was later laid before the house by Hakeem Sokunle, chairman of the committee on health, after which it scaled the third reading.
The bill gives the governor the opportunity to make recourse back to the house before any regulations.
The bill also stipulates a fine of N100,000 for defaulters, one month imprisonment in the correctional centre or three months community service.
Where the offence is not spelt out, it attracts N200,000 and also allows the leadership of the various arms of government to structure their own restriction format.
Section 8 of the bill makes provision for the coronavirus Trust Fund.
The bill further empowers the governor to declare a state of emergency of up to three months if the situation requires so.
Speaking on the bill, Adedamola Kasunmu (Ikeja constituency 2), said it was important to alleviate the impact of the virus on the economy of Lagos, especially since the bill would enable the executive to expend necessary funds to contain the virus by providing adequate facilities in the state owned hospitals.
On his part, Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti-Osa 2), said: “We urge Lagosians to bear with us. Pandemics are not new but the way government and people react to it matters 150 states in the world.
“Lagos recorded the first case,so they should look at the possibility to broaden it to capture much more.”
Contributing, Obasa said the contingency plan in the budget cannot sort out the current issue.
“Government needs be seen doing something, making effective pronouncements. The governor can make recourse back to the House if need be. If the budget procedure takes much time that can’t suffice, the kick off fund will help,” he said.
Lassa fever death toll rises to 176 — amid battle against coronavirus
Nigeria has recorded three more deaths from the Lassa fever outbreak, raising the total death in 2020 to 176.
The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) disclosed this on Thursday in its latest situation report.
It said 28 new cases were also recorded, shooting the total number of those infected up to 932 across at least 27 states.
The NCDC added that the states with highest new confirmed cases are Edo (eight) and Ondo (five).
Lassa fever is transmitted to humans via contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces. Its symptoms include high fever, soar throat, nausea, fever and general weakness.
The disease has been endemic in Nigeria, as there is often an outbreak every year. This time, Nigeria is battling it alongside a new disease: the coronavirus.
As of Wednesday night, 51 persons have been infected with the virus, which has led to the death of one person and grounded economic activities across the country.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in December, half a million people have been infected globally while at least 23,500 have died from the disease.
Lagos Assembly Reinstates Suspended Lawmakers
Lagos State House of Assembly has lifted the suspension placed on four of its members.
The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa announced the move at the start of plenary on Thursday.
Speaker Obasa said that the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) and the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress called a meeting on Tuesday to intervene in the crisis and directed that the House should reinstate the suspended lawmakers.
The affected lawmakers are Hon. Olumuyiwa Jimoh, who was the Deputy Majority Leader, Hon. Rotimi Abiru, who was the Chief Whip, Hon. Moshood Oshun and Hon. Raheem Adewale.
Their indefinite suspension was announced at the plenary on Monday, 9th of March and the affected lawmakers and their aides were later denied access to the legislative complex.
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