Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, has approved the recommendations by a selection of 30 Islamic scholars in the state to allow Muslim faithful worship in mosques on Fridays.
This is despite the fact that the state has recorded the second highest number of coronavirus cases in the country, only behind Lagos.
Ganduje’s media aide, Salihu Tanko Yakasai, announced on Monday, May 18, 2020 that the governor will allow Friday prayers and Eid prayers take place in the state, but traditional Eid celebrations will not be allowed.
The governor instructed religious leaders in the state to adhere to safety rules such as the wearing of face masks, using hand sanitisers, washing of hands, as well as proper spacing.
Ganduje also advised that sermons be as brief as possible, as part of directives issued after his Monday meeting with Islamic scholars and other government officials.
His approval was announced only a few hours after President Muhammadu Buhari extended the total lockdown of the state by two additional weeks.
The president had initially imposed a lockdown on the state on April 27, 2020 to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which grew rapidly.
Despite the lockdown, Kano has recorded over 700 cases in the past three weeks, with a total of 825 cases as of May 17.
The chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, announced on Monday that Buhari approved an extension so as to interrupt the spread of the outbreak.
One of the main components of the Federal Government’s directive is that religious gatherings should not be allowed to happen, even in states where there’s only a partial lockdown.
Mustapha said the lockdown was not designed to punish the people of Kano, but to safeguard lives and protect them from further infections and transmissions while the government builds capacity to contain the outbreak in the state.
The PTF chairman appealed to Nigerians to continue to adhere to preventive measures announced by authorities to contain the spread of the virus as it may likely not go away any time soon.
“Nigeria is not where we wish to be in terms of control, ownership, infrastructure, and change of behaviour. We must do more,” he said.
A total of 5,959 cases have been recorded in 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, as of May 17.
While 1,594 patients have recovered and been discharged, 182 people have died.