Shun gatherings if you’ve COVID-19 symptoms – NSCIA, CAN

The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and the Christian Association of Nigeria have asked Nigerians to obey all directives and precautions issued by the authorities on coronavirus.

The two bodies cautioned Muslim and Christian faithful against attending religious programmes if they are experiencing symptoms such as respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Thursday, the NSCIA Deputy Secretary-General, Prof. Salisu Shehu, urged mosques and Islamic centres to discourage members from attending any mosque activities “even if they are only experiencing mild symptoms

He noted, “In the event of confirmed emergence of the infection in several figures; regarding the congregational prayers, in such affected places, including the Friday prayers, funeral prayers, tarawih prayers and Eid prayers, people with compromised immunity such as the elderly, children, those with underlying health conditions amongst others should observe their prayers in their homes or wherever they are, and pray Zuhr in place of the Friday (Jum’ah) prayers.”

Regarding the Hajj and Umrah, the NSCIA deputy scribe also advised Muslims to adhere to all directives issued by the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

When asked if the Friday prayers at the National Mosque would be suspended, Shehu said the service would hold (today) “because at the level of the National Mosque, we are still observing the situation, so as far as the juma’at service is concerned, it is going to take place here.”

...CAN declares two-day prayer

Meanwhile, CAN on Thursday directed all churches in Nigeria to observe two-day prayer against coronavirus.

The President of the association, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, in a statement by his media assistant, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, urged all churches to observe the prayers slated for March 22 and 29, 2020, and to follow the guidelines for combating the disease.

CAN also urged churches to abide by the guidelines and precautions stipulated by the authorities including suspending gathering of over 50 persons.

The body admonished churches to conduct house fellowships or online service, noting that services could be broken into shifts of not more than 50 members per shift.

 “Our prayers should be that God should stop the spread of coronavirus in Nigeria and all over the world and God should protect Nigerians from this disease and heal those who have been infected already,” the statement said.

...RCCG modifies services

Also, the Redeemed Christian Church of God has modified services for its parishes in Lagos and Ogun states after the state governments banned gathering of more than 50 people.

The church, in a memo titled, ‘Slight alteration in mode of service for parishes in Lagos and Ogun states,’ and signed by the Assistant General Overseer, Pastor Johnson Odesola, noted that the changes in the service was part of the precautionary steps towards managing the spread of coronavirus.

Odesola said, “Parishes that have an average attendance above 50 members are directed to make use of their house fellowship centres to run simultaneous services with the main church.

 “Parishes that have the facility to run more than one service can also do so under the strict directive that worshippers won’t exceed 50 people per service.”

...Lagos Anglican alters service

Similarly, the Diocese of Lagos (Anglican Communion) has modified its service and postponed all church programmes that will attract more than 50 people.

The church in a statement signed by the Synod Secretary, Ven. Segun Ladeinde, urged all vicars with a congregation of more than 50 people to increase the number of church services.

The statement read in part, “House fellowship and Bible Study centres should be encouraged to serve as a place of Sunday worship for the time being. Vicars should organise this.

“Members are encouraged to also join online service on all diocesan online platforms such as Lagoon Radio, Lagoon TV and other existing online platforms of churches on Facebook, Youtube and ACNN.”

...C&S urges comply with govt directives

In a related development, the Cherubim & Seraphim Unification Church of Nigeria has urged all its parishes in Lagos and Ogun states to comply with the directives of the state government, adding that it had suspended all its programmes that would attract more than 50 people.

The Supreme Head of the church, Prophet Solomon Alao, in a statement by the Public Relations Officer of the Church, Apostle Muyiwa Adeyemi, urged the members to pray and adhere strictly to their hygiene.

 He said, “Churches with lesser congregation should make their service as brief as possible and all retreats, revivals, seminars and other public programmes that will attract more than 50 worshippers have been suspended.

“The bi-monthly joint revival of the Sacred which ought to hold in Ipetumodu, Osun State, has also been suspended. All Seraphs are to pray with Psalms 23, 46 and 91 in water, drink and use it to bathe at all times till the scourge of the virus will disappear.
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