Kano council of ulamas opposes lifting ban on congregational prayers

Ganduje outlines conditions for lifting lockdown

The Kano State Council of Ulamas on Wednesday expressed its opposition to the decision by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje to allow mosques and churches to resume congregational prayers in the state.

The Islamic clerics said the decision risks increasing the rate of infections in a state which has more cases than any other except Lagos.

Speaking on BBC Hausa Service, the head of the council, Ibrahim Khalil, said the government should have considered the continued spread of the virus in the state in its decision.

Mr Khalil said had the government consulted with the Council of Ulamas, it would have told it to give priority to the health of the people.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how Mr Ganduje had announced the lifting of the ban on congregational and ‘Eid’ prayers while insisting that congregants must continue to obey the physical distancing rule.

The governor’s directive came moments after the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and head of the presidential task force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, announced President Muhammadu Buhari’s extension of the lockdown in Kano by additional two weeks.

Mr Ganduje’s spokesperson, Salihu Tanko, in a brief statement posted on Facebook, had said the governor’s decision was based on “recommendations by 30 Islamic scholars in the state.”

Mr Tanko said the scholars asked Mr Ganduje to allow Friday prayers to hold as well as Eid prayers.

He said the governor gave his directive “after a lengthy consultation with the Islamic scholars and other government officials.

But Mr Khalil said the ulamas were not consulted.

“In this period of epidemic, since the government has allowed congregational prayers to hold, individuals can also decide for themselves not to risk their lives. Especially those with underlying illnesses should stay at home instead.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: Buhari extends lockdown in Kano by two weeks

“Those that feel they can go to mosque, if they don’t have any problems can go ahead and pray in congregations. There is no sin for anyone that don’t go to mosque as far as he has concrete reasons,” Mr Khalil said.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC), on Tuesday, announced 226 new infections of COVID-19 Nigeria, with Kano recording zero case.

The NCDC, however, said the total confirmed case in the state stands at 824, second only to Lagos, Nigeria’s epicentre of the disease.