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FG fights States over worship centres reopenings, restates 20 gathering rule

The Federal Government has accused governors of wilfully breaching the protocols designed to guide the country out of Coronavirus spread.

Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 control Chairman Boss Mustapha warned on Thursday of the danger in allowing large gatherings.

The PTF Chairman said the issue of large gatherings must be looked into, warning that it is not yet time to allow crowds gather.

Mustapha, has asked states relaxing restrictions because of Sallah celebrations to exercise caution in doing so.

He urged all Nigerians to take personal responsibility during Sallah so as not to cancel the gains of the past weeks.

The SGF noted that states must ensure that there are no gatherings of over 20 persons.

He further asked state governments to ensure compliance to restriction guidelines and take community ownership to the grassroots.

He reiterated that the ban on gatherings of more than 20 people remained banned.

The strong advisory from the PTF is that large gatherings beyond 20 persons remain prohibited and should be adhered to”.

Many governors have opened up their states for religious gatherings. These include Cross River, Ebonyi, Kano, Borno, Zamfara and Bauchi, among others.

But, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has advised Muslims to observe the Edi-el-Fitr prayers at home in accordance with the PTF-issued guidelines.

Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Mohammed Bello has resisted pressure to open worship centres in Abuja.

Apart from Cross River State which has no virus case yet. The active cases in some of the states reopening the worship centres are: Ebonyi (12), Borno (122) and 24 deaths, Zamfara (8), Kano (690) with 36 deaths and Gombe (41) and three deaths.

Defending the governors’ position, Jigawa State Governor Badaru Abubakar, told State House reporters at the end of the National Economic Council meeting at the Presidential Villa that “the issue has been resolved because, at our last meeting with Mr President, the President was clear that the Governors’ Forum and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 should meet and agree on steps to be taken, and it has been discussed today and commitment has been taken by today’s NEC that the Governors’ Forum, the Presidential Task Force would work hand -in -hand to see to the end of COVID-19.

“A committee was formed today that will look up to the eventual opening up of the economy. Sometimes you will see a different approach by different states, that doesn’t mean that there is loggerhead between the states and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

“Some peculiar situations require some peculiar solutions and that is why at times you see such and it will always be discussed with the Presidential Task Force so that we will always be on the same page”.

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