The Ogun State government on Friday suspended the planned reopening of worship centres earlier scheduled for Friday, June 19.
Governor Dapo Abiodun who made this disclosure while addressing journalists in his Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta office, insisted that “places of worship represent most potent fertile grounds for the spread of the deadly coronavirus.”
The Governor added that the “painful but necessary action” was informed by the increasing cases of COVID-19 patients in the State.
According to him, the decision followed robust deliberations between leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the League of Imams and Alfas.
Governor Abiodun disclosed that States that had “hastily” relaxed their measures are now being plagued by the ravaging pandemic.
The Governor also insisted that football viewing Gyms, event centres, cinemas, arcades, bars, casinos, nightclubs, swimming pools, barber-shops, spas, beauty Salons, and all public parks, including those in private residential estates still remain shut.
He disclosed that the State as at Monday, June 15, had recorded 586 positive cases of COVID-19, while 315 patients had been discharged and 15 patients had died.
The Governor added that the lockdown in the State is effective on Saturdays and Sundays.
His words, “After a careful review of the data, feedback from the field, expert opinions, and lessons from far and near, two major conclusions are very clear and obvious to all: first, the COVID-19 situation in Ogun state and indeed in the country as a whole has not improved since the last update; secondly, there are dire consequences in loss of human lives for premature relaxation of the guidelines, necessitating a rollback of the relaxation in a number of states and countries.
“Unfortunately, guidelines may be rolled back, the lost human lives cannot be rolled back.
“Consequently, we are confronted with two choices – yield to the demand of those who want the restrictions to be further relaxed or even completely removed, even if this is at variance with the dictates of incontrovertible data analysis and scientific opinion; or tow the path that preserves public health and safety, even if not so popular.
“As a responsible Administration, we choose life and the wellbeing of our citizens and are therefore constrained to take the painful but necessary decision to maintain the current regime of eased lockdown in the meantime.
“We are consequently suspending our initially slated reopening of places of worship. Let me thank some of our religious leaders who by themselves advised us that this is the best decision that we should take at this time in the best interest of all of us.
“This is not an easy decision, but we are confident that the wisdom and scientific basis for this decision will become clearer to those who may have initial misgivings about it. Since the advent of this pandemic in our State, our cautious, methodical, data-driven and scientifically supported approach has ensured not only comparably superior outcomes, we have also not had reasons to reverse our decisions, because our decisions are usually well thought out,” governor Abiodun said.
The governor also warned that anyone found operating football viewing centre would be arrested and prosecuted accordingly.