The Oyo state governor, Seyi Makinde on Thursday ordered reopening of praying grounds for Muslims in the state for the 2020 Eid-el-Kabir prayers.
Makinde in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, however, warned that Muslim faithful must ensure strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols in the state.
Makinde said that it has become imperative for the sake of public health and well being of all worshippers that the Eid prayers are conducted in strict compliance with the guidelines on prevention of COVID-19.
He urged the leadership of each praying ground in the state to ensure the availability of handwashing points and compulsory use of nose masks.
“As the Muslim Ummah prepare to undertake this year’s Eid-el-Kabir prayers, the Government of Oyo State wishes to advert Islamic clerics and leaders to the need to maintain strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols, especially the social distancing rule.
“The Eid Praying Grounds across the state have, upon the directive of the Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde, been opened to Muslims for the purpose of the 2020 Eid-el-Kabir prayers.
“His Excellency reckons that prayers are important to overcome the challenges that presently assail us, especially the COVID-19 pandemic.
“However, just like many aspects of our lives that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be an adjustment to Eid prayer gatherings.
“There is the need to ensure that not more than 25 percent of worshippers are allowed at every instance in order to ensure compliance with the social distancing rule.
“Similarly, let it also be noted that no worshipper should be allowed into the praying ground without face masks and readiness to wash hands with soap and water in compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
“To further ensure safety and ownership of the Covid-19 preventive measures, the Emergency Operations Centre, EOC, of the Oyo State Covid-19 Task Force, has sent advisories to major markets and shopping malls, on the need for strict compliance with Covid-19 preventive protocols during this festive period and beyond.
“The EOC has also contacted all the health educators in the 33 LGAs in the state with a mandate to reach out to possible places of gathering and advise on the need for responsible behaviour, just as the centre has revved up risk communication advisories on radio.
“In addition to these measures, however, all clerics and leaders are expected to take on the responsibility of guiding our people to pay attention to even the minutest detail on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during this festivity.
“The need to follow all laid down guidelines on COVID-19 prevention must be emphasized to every resident of the state at this period, in accordance with the Own Your Action initiative of the State’s COVID-19 Task Force, which emphasizes that our wellbeing and safety are individual responsibilities.
“The Oyo State government wishes the Muslim Ummah a peaceful Eid-el-Kabir, filled with the blessings and benevolence of Almighty Allah.”