ONDO and Ogun State governments have banned all overnight vigils between now and the new year as part of new stringent health measures introduced to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the last few weeks, the number of Nigerians affected by the virus have risen amid fears of there being a second wave globally. There are already plans to carry out a mass vaccination programme early next year with health officials looking to vaccinate 100m Nigerians over the next quarter.
After months of recording low figures on a daily basis, Nigeria’s Covid-19 cases have spiked in December with over 11,000 infections detected by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in three weeks. Boss Mustapha, the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 has warned that Nigeria is now facing a second wave of infections similar to those of other nations across the world.
Lagos, which has recorded the highest number of cases in Nigeria, has been the epicentre of the second wave alongside Kaduna State and the Federal Capital Territory. As a result, the Lagos State government has banned all parties and carnivals over the festive period, with anyone found breaching these guidelines facing a one year jail term.
Acting likewise, the Ondo and Ogun State governments have cancelled cross over vigils and shifted the resumption of pupils and students in primary and secondary schools to January 18. This means that Christians in both states will not be able to observe the traditional December 31 new year crossover service.
Professor Adesegun Fatusi, the chairman of the Ondo State Inter-ministerial Committee on Coronavirus, who is also the vice-chancellor of University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, said the state is working assiduously to ensure it records no substantial case during the second wave of the pandemic. He implored people to pay due attention and observe the precautionary measures put in place to safeguard them.
According to the chairman, no church service organised in respect of the new year must exceed 10 pm until further notice, in line with the federal government’s protocols. He added that government and business offices shall continue to open, with strict compliance to Covid-19 precautionary measures, while markets shall continue to operate in line with the laid down protocols.
Professor Fatusi said: “Night clubs and relaxation spots must not operate beyond 10pm. Picnics can operate but in open space and adherence to Covid-19 protocols.”
Meanwhile, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has announced the suspension of street carnivals, crowded cross-over night service, parties and similar gatherings. After a meeting between the state government and religious leaders from the League of Imams and the Christian Association of Nigeria as well as community leaders, it was agreed that all government officials should also go on holiday.