The Lagos State Government has commended religious leaders in the state for their cooperation and active participation in the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that the cooperation received from the leaders of the two major religious groups, especially in the area of zero-congregational gathering, assisted in lowering the curve of the pandemic.
The commendation was given on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, by the state’s Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, during a Ministerial Press briefing commemorating the first year in office of Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu at Alausa, Ikeja.
On plans to reopen the economy of the State including worship centres, Elegushi pleaded for continued collaboration with the State government and adherence to the government’s directives that would still be presented to the various churches and mosques when they are eventually allowed to gather for their services.
According to Elegushi, “When we got a hint on the current Coronavirus disease across the globe, we immediately went into action by organising a sensitisation and briefing workshop on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020 at the Chapel of Christ the Light Hall, Alausa. This was followed by another meeting where a joint decision was reached by all religious bodies to reduce the attendance of worshippers to 50 worshipers at a time”.
“In addition to this, our Religious Leaders came together again on 18th March 2020 after reviewing the situation to agree on a total lockdown of Religious Worship Centres across the State before President Muhammad Buhari came up with an announcement locking down Lagos, Ogun and Abuja“, he said.
Elegushi said that the shutdown of all religious gatherings, activities and programmes by churches and mosques was quite timely and helped in the containment of the virus from escalating beyond control, considering the huge numbers that do gather periodically for religious purposes in the State.
He also acknowledged the discomfort which the pandemic brought on both the Muslims and Christians in Lagos, specifically during the Lenten season and the Ramadan period.
He said: “For a very long time in human history, Christians celebrated the Lenten period and Easter celebrations at home, while our Muslim brothers and sisters were also restricted to observe Sallah at home throughout the Ramadan period, including the Eid-El Fitri celebrations”.
Elegushi attributed the mutual understanding that exists between the State government and the religious groups to a long-term religious harmony and peaceful coexistence, saying that creating rapport is one of the critical functions of the Ministry.
Lagos State Government has commended religious leaders in the State for their cooperation and involvement in the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic@jidesanwoolu @drobafemihamzat #LASG #ForAGreaterLagos
Read More.. https://t.co/txGKGCZy2H pic.twitter.com/bKHaUG1XTT
— The Lagos State Govt (@followlasg) June 2, 2020
Meanwhile, information from a monitored report suggests that the churches and mosques in the state might not be opening anytime soon for worshippers. This was disclosed by Elegushi on the sideline of the Ministerial briefing commemorating the first year in office of Governor Babjide Sanwo-Olu.
He said that the reopening was not possible as Lagos State is the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in the country and that after several meetings with religious leaders in the state, the possibility of reopening religious houses was ruled out.
Elegushi said that they claim that they cannot take responsibility for ensuring that only 20 or 50 people are in attendance.
He said that the governor will come out with further directives.
It can be recalled that the Federal Government, on Monday, June 1, 2020, announced the relaxation of the ban on religious gatherings. They, however, said that each state government can devise measures that suit them, thereby looking at the possibility of doing so in their respective states.
Financial Autonomy: Governors, State Speakers reach agreement
The Governor also said that the final document of the agreement should be ready for implementation by May 2021.
The Governors’ Forum, Conference of Speakers of State Legislature and other governance stakeholders announced that they reached a resolution over the implementation of financial autonomy for State Legislature and Judiciary.
This was disclosed by the Ekiti State Governor and Chairman Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi, after the meeting, which was held in Abuja on Monday, and presided by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.
What the Governor said
“We are here for legislative and judicial autonomy and Governors; Speakers of State Assemblies and the Judges of the States are on the same page as far as this issue is concerned,” he said.
We just emerged from a meeting with the Solicitor General of the Federation, the representatives of the judiciary and those of the Conference of Speakers and we are all in force; an agreement has been reached.
The issue is about implementation. There has been no objection from governors on judicial and legislative autonomy.
As a matter of fact, it would not have passed if governors were not in support in the first instance. So, that issue has been fully and holistically addressed,” Fayemi said.
The Governor also said that the final document of the agreement should be ready for implementation by May 2021 and urged striking workers to return to offices “because as far as this has gone, we have met with all the parties concerned and the President, through his Chief of Staff, has been monitoring what has been happening.”
What you should know
Nairametrics reported earlier this month that members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) went on strike with the closure of Federal High Courts in different states across the nation. The union said the purpose of the strike was to draw attention to the financial autonomy of Nigeria’s Judiciary.
Finance Minister tasks FG and state governments to control spending
The Minister also denied claims that the FG printed N60 billion as top-up for March FAAC numbers.
The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has called on Governments on all levels in Nigeria to control spending amid decreasing revenues and urged for prudent government spending. The Minister also denied claims that the Federal Government printed N60 billion as top-up for March FAAC numbers.
The Minister disclosed this in an interview on Monday and warned that the FG was not generating enough revenue to align with its spending habit.
Zainab Ahmed added that the FG would maintain its stance from January 2021 to end total fuel subsidies in Nigeria, and confirmed talks with organised labour on subsidy removal.
“As a nation, the Federal, State and Local governments must review expenditure patterns. We are spending too much and we are not generating enough,” she said.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported last month that the Debt Management Office had announced that Nigeria’s public debt at end of 2020 was N32.915 trillion. The DMO said the sum of the debt included the Debt Stock of the Federal and State Governments, as well as the Federal Capital Territory.
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