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Eid Prayer in Oyo State: Is Compliance Possible?

A few weeks ago, the Oyo State Government directed that mosques and churches in the state be opened. This instruction was given on the condition that these religious centres maintain a capacity of not more than 25% and that nose masks should be used.
 
To verify whether or not these centres were following these guidelines, CAMPUS REPORTER visited a couple of religious centres and also talked to attendants.
 
A general consensus from this exercise was that many religious centres have been doing well sticking to the rule. While some mosques and churches went further to include extra spacing during prayer (in addition to handwashing and the use of facemask), others maintained the usual spacing.
 
“In my church, the arrangement is three people in each pew,” Tobi, a resident of Ogbomosho, Oyo State, said.
 
As the annual Muslim festival, Eid-il-Kabir draws near, there has been speculation on whether the state will allow a general Eid gathering at praying grounds or not. As a result of this, CAMPUS REPORTER talked to Imams and Muslim believers to know their stand.
 
Professor Abdul Wahab Tijani, the Chief Imam of the LAUTECH Central Mosque, said that Eid gathering at a time like this would not be a great idea. In his words, “To complete congregation prayer in Islam, there is a need for toes and shoulders to meet. Therefore as Coronavirus won’t allow this, it is better to stay at home.”
 
A Muslim faithful, Odubiyi Azeez, said that since many people still do not believe that the coronavirus virus exists and that most religious organisations do not have a system in place to ensure compliance with COVID-19 regulations, Eid gathering for prayers would be a bad idea.
 
Alhaji Akuru, the Chief Imam of Arisekola-Alao Central Mosque in Ibadan, Oyo State, said that although people have been complying with the guidelines in mosques, controlling a large crowd might not be possible. He further said Muslims should be law-abiding citizens and, as such, they are expected to follow whatever the Government says.
 
“The government loves people and that is why we have rules and regulations to help protect lives,” he said. He also noted that the Government has allocated for people to pray joint Eid Prayer in their mosques.
 
For some states like Kano and Kwara, there have been announcements that there will be no public Eid gathering celebration. At the time of filing this, the Oyo State Government had not made any public declarations concerning this.

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