LAGOS State government health officials have sealed off the Agege Central Mosque after it persistently violated the ban on gatherings of more than 25 people and its worshippers resorted to attacking enforcement officers who asked them to disperse.
With Lagos State being the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, it has been at the heart of measure to curb the spread. Religious gatherings have been banned nationwide and in Lagos and Ogun states, as well as the Federal Capital Territory, there has been a lockdown on all movement, apart from essential services.
At the Agege mosque, however, worshipers have constantly defied the government and on Tuesday, they even attacked members of the Lagos State Covid-19 Task Force sent to ask them to disperse. Apparently, the worshippers, numbering about 300, rushed out of the mosque and started hurling missiles at the task force’s patrol vehicle, physically attacking the officers.
Reacting to the incident, the Agege Local Government Area fumigated the mosque and sealed it off. Ganiyu Egunjobi, the local government chairman, said the shutdown of the mosque was necessary to avert a recurrence of the attack and serve as a deterrent to other errant faith groups and adherents.
Mr Egunjobi said: “We cannot continue to condone acts capable of spreading this dreadful disease. Even Saudi Arabia placed restrictions on the number of people who must worship in the two holy mosques, Haram and Nabawi and banned congregational prayers in all other mosques across the country.
“Honestly speaking, we cannot be more Roman than the Romans. We have had engagement with the leadership of the mosque, including the Sarkin Hausawa, Musa Muhammed and our resolution is that it should be shut down until further notice.”
Yesterday, some men thought to be of northern extraction were seen hanging around the premises but it remained sealed. Personnel of the Lagos State Police Command were also seen patrolling the street in a bid forestall any breakdown of law and order.