By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
As part of its effort to ascertain the level of preparedness of worship centers towards reopening in Ogun State, a government delegation visited churches and mosques in Ijebu, Remo and Egba axis of the State.
The delegation comprises of the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker, her counterparts in Physical Planning and Urban Development, as well as Environment, TPL Tunji Odunlami and Engr. Abiodun Abudu-Balogun respectively met with clerics and also inspected preventive measures provided by respective faith-based organizations.
Speaking to newsmen after the visit, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mrs. Tomi Coker, noted that mixed reactions was noticed among the religious bodies on their level of preparedness, saying an intelligent decision towards reopening of the worship centers would be considered based on evidence at government disposal, for the overall benefit of worshippers.
“We observed mixed reaction from the religious leaders on their level of preparedness because some have shown that they cannot actually guarantee the safety of their congregants from the COVID-19 pandemic and there are some that have complied with the laid down protocols”, she said.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Environment, Engr. Abudu-Balogun, commended some of the worship centers on their level of preparedness towards reopening, while expressing satisfaction on decontamination of the centers, he emphasised the need to continue the exercise before and after each service.
“We are here on the directive of Governor Dapo Abiodun to ascertain the level of compliance, as well as the preparedness of worship center towards reopening. From the environmental point of view, we can see a high level of preparedness regarding the decontamination of worship centers. What we noticed and needs to be addressed urgently is the ratio of chemical required to decontaminate the premises”, he maintained
TPL Tunji Odunlami in his remark said the assessment visit was an ongoing engagement between government and faith-based organisations on possible relaxation of the lockdown order, noting that the idea was to ensure safety of the people.
“From our assessment so far, there has been an appreciable compliance with the stated protocols. All we are saying as a responsible and responsive government is to preserve our people from this deadly pandemic ravaging the world”, he stated.
Responding, the Cathedral Administrator, St. Sebastian’s Cathedral, Odo-Egbo in Ijebu -Ode, Rev. Father Vincent Ajayi, said the visit by the government officials showed the commitment of Prince Dapo Abiodun’s administration towards ensuring the safety of lives of the people.
“As a church, we are also committed to preserving lives by partnering with the government in ensuring that our people do not contract the virus”, he noted.
Also speaking, Chief Imam of Ijebu-land, Sheikh Gbadegesin Ayanbadejo, also lauded the State government for the innumerable developmental strides and efforts towards containing the spread of COVID-19.
On his part, Wakilu Musulumi of Yoruba land, Sheikh Iskeel Lawal, said the leadership of the Central Mosque, Kobiti, had regularly engaged their Faithful on Covid-19 safety guidelines, adding that the mosque has procured the needed safety kits, such as thermometers and hand washing materials, to contain the spread among the congregation.
Worship centers visited included; Ijebu-Ode Central Mosque, St Sebastine’s Catholic Church, Ijebu-Ode, Sagamu Central Mosque, Ibara Baptist Church, headquarters of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, Redemption Camp, Cathedral Church of St. Peter, Ake, Ansar-u-deen Central Mosque, Adedotun, among others.