Lagos State Government said in view of the prevailing rise in the number of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, Churches, Mosques, and other worship centres may remain shut in the state.
The move became necessary following unresolved disagreement on protocols and guidelines between government and religious leaders.
Recall that the Federal Government had on Monday, June 1, lifted the ban on mosques and churches in the country, based on guidelines and protocols agreed with state governments.
Commissioner for Home Affairs, Anofiu Elegushi, made the remark on Tuesday, while answering questions from newsmen, at a ministerial press briefing commemorating the first year in office of Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, held in Ikeja.
Elegushi said the possibility of reopening Churches and Mosques in the state had been ruled out.
According to him, ‘’Even before the pronouncement by Federal Government, we have been having series of meetings with the religious leaders, we even have one with safety Commission. Looking at the possibility of reopening of religious houses.
‘’We also had one with the leaders of the two faith and I want to tell you categorically that at that meeting, possibility of reopening religious houses was ruled out totally.
‘’They claimed that they cannot take such responsibility of ensuring that only 20 or 50 people are praying behind them. Like an Imam said he doesn’t know what is going on at back immediately he is leading a prayer. He said if more than 20 or 50 people are staying at his back he is not going to take responsibility for their presence.
‘’So in the meeting we ruled out in totality the issue of reopening the religious houses until we have a clear coast for us to do so. The Federal Government mentioned it, but it never ruled out the state in achieving that pronouncement, so all states will have to look at possibility of doing so in their respective states.
‘’We all know Lagos is still having more figures
“So definitely that will speak to our decision. But the governor of the state will come out with further directives from that directive. We will call the two faith together and discuss the pronouncement and I can assure you that they themselves will tell us not to do it.’’
The commissioner said the ministry has started the process of automating the processing of money lending licenses.
He revealed that since the commencement of the process few months ago, it has received 207 applications out of which approvals was granted for 184 applicants.
Elegushi explained that the decision to automate the process of money lending licenses in the state was to ensure a hitch-free renewal and fresh applications by prospective applicants.
The commissioner added that only one application has so far been declined by the Ministry while 22 applications are currently being reviewed, stressing that the initiative would henceforth guarantee easy access to loan opportunities to residents of the state and ultimately provide employment for the youths.
According to him, “the initiative is cost effective for grass root financing and the requirements are simple and straightforward. The forms are available and the processes are very friendly. In addition the automation of the money lending processes would help address several issues of trust that had overtime bedeviled the practitioners.”
Elegushi described the various Money Lenders across the State as the mini-micro economic stimulants that creates jobs, generate wealth, alleviate poverty and widens the tax net, thereby increasing the socio-economic status of the State through the provision of enabling environment for small scale business and entrepreneurship.