Yesterday, the federal government completely disagreed with the decision by some governors in the northern part of the country to relax the restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
He warned governors who lifted the ban on religious meetings in worship centers, with the aim of paving the way for Eid-el-Fitr prayers to rethink.
The federation government secretary (SGF), Boss Mustapha, affirmed the position of the federal government during the daily briefing of the presidential task force on COVID-19 in Abuja.
The SGF, who is also the chairman of the PTF, noted that the governors' decision to open prayer camps for Sallah's prayers could inadvertently endanger the elderly, the sick and people with underlying factors during these religious meetings.
He vehemently warned that large meetings in excess of 20 people remained prohibited and should be strictly followed.
Friday recalls that the Sultan of Sokoto and the president-general of the Supreme Council of Nigeria for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar III, also maintained the position of the federal government when he urged Muslims to observe his Eid-el-Fitr. prayers at home, according to the guidelines for blocking COVID-19.
While Muslims celebrate Sallah this weekend, the federal government yesterday alerted Nigerians about the need to wear masks, maintain physical distances, avoid large congregations, unnecessary interstate travel and observe personal hygiene, among other suggested safety measures.
Mustapha said: “I would like to inform you that I attended the virtual meeting of the National Economic Council with the vice president and all state governors. This happens right after a previous virtual meeting between the president and the governors within a week.
“During the meeting, the issue of aligning their actions at the state level with the guidelines issued was emphasized. Likewise, the need for States to diligently implement and enforce compliance is emphasized.
“In particular, I emphasized the need for governors to provide strong and personal leadership, to bring community ownership policy to the grassroots and to create a deeper awareness.
“Governors were also advised about the decision made by some of their colleagues to allow large meetings, as such decisions could inadvertently put elderly, sick and people with underlying factors at risk during these meetings. PTF's strong recommendation is that large meetings in addition to twenty people remain prohibited and must be respected ”.
The SGF noted that, in the past few days, the PTF had consistently responded to questions and provided explanations about the categories of people and services exempt from some aspects of the guidelines, especially with regard to restrictions on interstate movement and curfew. .
Clarifying this, he said: “For the avoidance of doubt, essential workers, including our indefatigable medical personnel, diligent journalists, courageous firefighters, telecommunications workers, are all exempt.
“The Inspector General of Police further clarified the categories of essential workers according to the guidelines and issued instructions to security officers to work on the approved exemptions.
"With this clarification, we sincerely hope that the persistent complaints of harassment by these categories of essential workers, especially doctors and journalists, will be mitigated, so that we can work harmoniously in the fight against this pandemic."
He urged all essential workers to conduct their legitimate business, taking with them valid means of identification and to be courteous when approaching security personnel.
The SGF also noted that, through the surveillance system created, the PTF received reports that Nigerians were buying hydroxyl chloroquine in large quantities, warning that the drug is not yet certified as a cure for the virus.
He stated: “We wish to reiterate that this drug has not been certified for use in the treatment of COVID-19 in Nigeria by the relevant health and pharmaceutical authorities.
“Self-medication of any kind is fraught with the risk of increasing the risk of preventable victims. Therefore, we strongly caution against self-medication.
“If you are ill, seek medical advice and, if you have a positive confirmation, please isolate yourself in an approved facility. COVID-19 is highly infectious and dangerous. "
Urging caution on the part of Nigerians, he said: “Yesterday, Wednesday, May 20, 2020, served as a severe reminder to the whole world about the seriousness of COVID-19 when the World Health Organization (WHO) reminded the world that we still have a long way to go in the fight against this pandemic.
“According to Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, 106,000 cases were recorded worldwide in twenty-four hours, representing the largest number of unique days since the start of the pandemic. This is significant because it brings realization, the relentless attack, from the virus to humanity.
“For us in Nigeria, the importance of this message is very clear. We need to avoid skepticism about the existence of this virus and its potency, change our behavior and commit to holding hands to fight this pandemic ”.
Divided states, give different directions to Sallah
Meanwhile, some state governments differed yesterday in their guidelines and protocols for COVID-19 for Muslim believers in marking the celebrations of Sallah.
The Kano state government told the chief imams of the mosques in Jumma & # 39; at that Eid-el-Fitr should be observed by all Islamic followers during Fridays and Eid-el-fitr prayer.
Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje enumerated some of the guidelines such as hand washing by all people willing to observe congregational prayer with disinfectants, social distance, wearing masks, among others.
Speaking when he met with imams from 44 areas of the state's local government at the Palace of the Government's Civil House, Kano, yesterday, Ganduje said: “I want to assure you that in every decision we make, we need to consult him first make that decision, especially those related to religion in which you are versatile.
“People must follow the protocols so that we can get rid of this global pandemic called COVID-19. So, we decided to call you and introduce you to these protocols. We will write them in the vernacular, which will be given to people during prayers. And they will be translated into Arabic for the benefit of those who cannot read and write in English ”
“Part of the protocols that were delivered to them was that the prayers were conducted within an hour, to allow people to disperse quickly. An hour includes the sermon and prayer itself. Face mask packs were distributed to them for later distribution to other fans.
“Soap and water will be placed at the entrance to all Eid lands for people to wash their hands before entering. Anyone present should wash their hands. Disinfectant will also be provided ”
But in Kwara state, the Ulama council, in the Emirate of Ilorin, asked Muslims to observe Eidel-Fitr's prayers in their homes.
The board gave the directive in a statement signed by its vice president, Sheikh Abdullahi AbdulHamid, who is also the Imale Imam of Ilorin.
He added that the directive is necessary due to the need to observe COVID-19 security protocols by Muslim faithful during Eid-el-Fitr prayers.
The council urged Muslims in the 16 areas of the state's local government to make the sacrifice in order to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19.
"The state government directive on maintaining social distance among others, at the time of COVID-19, with the objective of protecting lives and public safety, must be complied with by the sellers," he added.
In Kaduna, yesterday, the State Security Council reminded residents that the movement restriction against the spread of COVID-19 has not been relaxed, saying it will be strictly enforced.
In a statement by Samuel Aruwan, Commissioner for Homeland Security and Home Affairs, the state government explained that the blockade was relaxed only on Wednesdays and Thursdays of the week.
Aruwan said that security agencies are required to strictly enforce existing Quarantine Orders every other day.
The declaration called on residents to continue to comply with the blocking conditions, “including restriction of movement, the prohibition of any type of congregational worship and the prohibition of any large gathering or social activity of any kind.
“The Kaduna state government explained the public health considerations that informed these measures and called on citizens to endure the sacrifices necessary to protect everyone in Covid-19. As part of confidence-building measures to reassure residents and defend law and order, security agencies will conduct enhanced patrols across the state. Measures against interstate travel will also be robustly applied across state borders ”.
In Benue state, however, Governor Samuel Ortom released yesterday the state's decision to lift the partial blockade initially established to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the bud.
This is even when the governor insisted that the interstate movement remained banned, except for those in essential services.
The governor stated this during the meeting of the state executive council with the state action committee at COVID-19 in Makurdi, where it was decided that churches and mosques will begin holding worship sessions starting yesterday.
According to the governor, the implication is that churches or mosques that were previously holding two worship sessions would now hold four or more sessions in one day.
Ortom also asked workers from levels 1 to 12 that they should stay home to resume work on June 1, 2020, advising them to always wear their face masks and maintain social distance when working.
“Although street commerce is encouraged, it will be strictly based on compliance with the COVID-19 social detachment protocol. The markets will be partially open to allow merchants to access their stores and the fumigation of markets will be carried out periodically ”, he said.
The governor also announced the review of the existing curfew in the state, which was previously set at 7:00 pm to 6:00 am to start now from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am daily, until further notice.
In Katsina, the state government reportedly relaxed its blockade order as a result of pressure from state residents.
Speaking to some journalists in his office yesterday, the Ministry of Health's permanent secretary, Dr. Kabir Mustapha, said the people of the state pressured the government to relax the blockade order, insisting that they had no food in their homes and government. nor can they provide enough food for them.
He said: “Our people fail to understand and appreciate what the government is doing. The government is under strong pressure, dealing with so many things and that is why we are where we are. But we are trying our best to reduce the virus.
"People are saying they have no food; they want to go out and look for food, and the government cannot provide food for everyone. So the only thing the government could do is to relax the blockade so that they can look for food.
"We have seen riots in other countries in Europe and we don't want that to happen in katsina. So what can we do, since we don't have what we can give to people and we also don't want them to turn against us?"
In Oyo, state governor Seyi Makinde denied yesterday's media report that the state government has lifted the ban on public meetings, including the opening of churches and mosques.
The governor's special advisor to the media, Jide Ajani, in reacting to an alleged statement that the state government had lifted the ban, said: “An Adenuga's statement is false and advised religious houses to obey the existing restraining order. .
“There is a false press statement currently in circulation, referring to some Executive Orders allegedly issued by the Executive Governor of Oyo State, His Excellency, Engineer Seyi Makinde.
“The individual who signed the declaration is an Adeniran Adenuga, who assumed the title of‘ Special Advisor on Media and Advertising to the Governor.
“This false news is not from Governor Makinde's Press Office and the so-called Executive Orders are false in all particular materials. As a member of the Oyo Covid-19 State Task Force, I can confirm that none of these decisions were made.
"Therefore, as of today, there is no suspension of the ban on public meetings – including churches and mosques."
NYI supports Sultan and asks Muslims to pray at home
Meanwhile, Jama & # 39; atu Nasril Islam (NYI) came in yesterday after Sokoto's sultan and president general of Nigeria's Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa & ad 39, in his position that Muslims should observe their Eid-el-Fitr Prayers according to the guidelines for blocking COVID-19.
The sultan had warned on Wednesday that Eid-el-Fitr was not a mandatory religious activity and at no time should it be seen whether it would undermine the fundamental purpose of shari & ah, a multifaceted concept that includes staff , community, nationality. , health and environmental components, among others.
The Fatwa NYI Committee, in its own position contained in a statement signed by its secretary general, Sheikh Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, noted that the restriction will be in closed states on Sallah's day, while in states where the movement is relaxed, Muslims can venture out. to say your prayers in the field of eid.
He noted: “Jama & # 39; atu Nasril Islam, under the leadership of Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammad Sa & ad 39; ad Abubakar, Sokoto sultan and NYI general president, in a mandate to the NYI Fatwa Committee, to present FATWA in relation to the Eid-el-Fitr 2020 year.
“The committee, under the leadership of Sheikh Sheriff Ibrahim Saleh Alhusainy, after consultations and considerations about the current Covid-19 state pandemic and the serious threat this poses to life, reached the following decisions:
“The Eid-el-Fitr congregation on the outskirts of the cities must be temporarily suspended. That said 'Eid-el-Fitr Prayer be observed at home with family members or alone, if there is no one with him at home.
"That the Eid-el-Fitr Prayers are two Raka'at. Seven Takbirat to be pronounced in the first Raka'at, including the opening Takbir. So Suratul Fatiha is read and any other chapter , preferably Suratul A & # 39; ala. While in the second Rakah, five Takbirat are pronounced. Then Suratul Fatiha is read and any other chapter, preferably Suratul Ghashiyah.
“In case of praying at home, as it may be, the Khutbah (sermon) is suspended.
“All of the above mentioned items are based on the decisions of the Hadith of Anas Bn Malik in Sahih al-Bukhari and the Maliki law school in Mukhtasar, as explained by Al-Kharshi and Al-Munah al-Jalil.
“However, in states where governments have made concrete decisions to observe prayer & # 39; Eid-el-Fitr based on the advice of their specialist doctors, stricter detachment measures, face masks and disinfectants will be taken to protect the faithful . In that case, the mosques in the neighborhood can be used if necessary.
“Ulama must fear Allah, the Most High, and mature enough to keep his statements and actions for the general interest of Deen and Ummah. Nigerian Muslims are therefore called to reflect on the good virtues of the month of Ramadan and to keep their teachings for a lifetime, as the Lord of Ramadan is still and will remain The Lord of the other months, above all, keeps records of our actions and inactions. Furthermore, Muslims are reminded to maintain the ordinances of the Glorious Qur'an, for the prestige of the Muslim Ummah ”.
Sultan asks Muslims to look for New Moon
Meanwhile, Sokoto's sultan, Muhammad Saad Abubakar III, last night instructed the Muslim Ummah in the country to look for Shawwal's new moon 1441 AH starting today.
Sultan, who gave the directive in a statement signed by Prof. Sambo Junaidu, chairman of the Sultanate Council's advisory committee on religious affairs, also demanded that his vision be properly reported in the appropriate quarters.
The statement noted: “This is to inform the Muslim Ummah that Friday, May 22, 2020, which is equivalent to the 29th day of Ramadan 1441 AH, will be the day to look at Shawwal's new moon 1441 AH.
"Muslims are therefore asked to start looking at the new moon and to report their sighting to the nearest district or village chief for further communication with the sultan"
50.% Of coronavirus deaths occur at home, says Ehanire
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, suggested yesterday that about half of the deaths registered so far in the country in the country occurred at home, even though 50% of the people who died at home had no symptoms.
Speaking at the presidential task force briefing on COVID-19, the minister said: “Almost half of them died at home. Of those who died at home, about 50% had no symptoms. This underscores my previous emphasis on the need for those who are positive to report treatment.
“I would also advise those who have tested and await the result to pay attention to the warning to isolate themselves from friends, wear face masks and observe hand and respiratory hygiene until their results are released. By doing this, you will be protecting your family, friends and your community. "
Ehinare said the ministry had intensified the training of health professionals in infection prevention and control, adding that the training significantly reduced infection among health professionals.
“We trained the 4th batch of health professionals and suppliers of proprietary patents and medicines in the state of Kano. Training and retraining are an ongoing process and we must sustain the initiative, ”he added.