Following the release of highlights of guidelines for re-opening of churches and mosques, clerics and others above 55 years of age, including President Muhammadu Buhari; the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Supo Ayokunle; head of the Jamatul Nasril Islam, Sultan Salad Abubakar, Federal ministers, Senators, Hose of Representatives members, and almost all state governors, are excluded from public worship.
Other excluded clerics are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Pastor E. A. Adeboye, Pastor WF Kumuyi, and Bishop David Oyedepo, who has been quite vociferous on re-opening of worship centres.
The directive to keep out those above 55 has sparked reactions as many took to social media to criticise the move. In Abuja, Federal Capital Territory branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) entered into a meeting with the capital’s minister, Mohammed Bello.
On social media, one of the trending comments asked if such aged people would also be prevented from going to the markets and offices.
Titled PTF, NCDC & 55yrs old Nigerians, it reads:
“55years old and above Nigerians are barred from churches and mosques.
“OK. Is that fair enough?
“What of 55years old Nigerians that are bank workers, shop owners in the markets that are allowed to operate fully?
“What of 55years old and above that are deputy directors, directors, permanent secretaries and …..(na you go mention their names including PTF members) that are working?
“Let’s fear God ooo”
The controversial highlights from the Presidential Task Force (PTF) read in full:
* Persons of 55yrs old and above and those with underlining health issues such as diabetes, HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, etc, should be prevented from attending churches and mosques,
* Provision of Handwashing equipment with running water and hand sanitizers for worshippers,
* Temperature checks on all the worshippers.
* Leadership of religious worship centers must ensure that Physical Distancing is strictly observed.
* Worship centers must keep their windows and doors open for cross ventilation.
* Worshippers must wear Face Masks
* Members of the same family are encouraged to seat together
* Volunteers or stewards should not be above 55 years old.
* Church Services and Muslims worship hours will be from 5am to 8pm.
* Services must not exceed one hour period for both churches and mosques.
* Children Services, Night Vigils and other gatherings at worship centers remain banned.