The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has asked state governments to consider giving palliatives to imams and pastors to cushionthe effect of COVID-19 measures on them.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Ishaq Akintola, MURIC director, said the palliatives will address the agitation to reopen churches and mosques.
“The open demand by certain religious leaders for their places of worship to be reopened lends credence to the pressure clerics are going through,” he said.
“Even the recent decision by some state governments to reopen religious centres is not unconnected with subterranean agitations from clerics in the states. Deserted for weeks, the house of God longs for warmth.
“The impact of the economic nosedive on imams and pastors cannot be overemphasized particularly for a countrywhose proletariat is overworked, underpaid and overtaxed.”
Akintola said the realities of the Nigerian economy call for government’s attention ”particularly as they affect keepers of the house of God”.
“MURIC therefore advises the various state governments to speedily devise means of getting special palliatives to the clerics in the churches and mosques.
“They deserve attention at this crucial moment because they have nowhere to go. They should not be turned to beggars. They have served the government at various times. They should not be abandoned in their hour of need.
“Besides, members of their families deserve decent lives as Section 33 of the Constitutionof the Federal Republic of Nigeria stipulates the right to life for every citizen while Section 34 confers the right to the dignity of the human person.”