The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has requested that worship centres be allowed to go beyond one hour. The association stated this during a meeting with the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), in Abuja on Thursday.
CAN’s General Secretary Joseph Daramola said the one hour timing would not be enough for services, adding that it should be extended to at least 90 minutes.
He urged Christians to adhere to the guidelines, and ensure safety at all time.
FCT Minister Malam Muhammad Bello released guidelines on reopening of places of worship in Abuja.
According to the statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Anthony Ogunleye, the minister said all places of worship must sign up to full compliance with all aspects of non- pharmaceutical interventions required to protect the public from COVID-19, including but not limited to:
- Ensuring the supply of running water and soap/alcohol sanitisers at entry and exit points and in all high-contact locations, including bathrooms; worshippers must sanitise their hands before entry; Provision of temperature checks before entry; mandatory use of face masks;
- Strongly discourage all close contacts, including shaking of hands, hugging, kissing, handing out of materials and sharing of worship implements including prayer mats, musical organs, microphones etc;
- Churches and mosques within the FCT must limit the capacity of their facilities to allow for physical distancing of at least two meters between persons.
- Limit congregational contact times, with places of worship only opening for regular church and mosque services; churches are to open from 5am and close by 8pm and each service shall be for a maximum of 1 hour with an interval of 30 mins in between services to allow time for disinfection;
- Mosques are to open 15 minutes before Adhan and close 10 minutes after prayers for the five prayers. Waiting period between Adhan and Iqamah should not be more than 10 minutes. Prayers are to be shortened to reduce duration of contact between congregations”.
The meeting, also acknowledged that the situation of COVID-19 in the FCT is still at a very critical stage and recognises that there is the danger that if the established protocols were not adhered to, the cases of those infected and fatalities will increase.
The minister said: “It is therefore essential that all residents of the FCT take personal responsibility in ensuring strict compliance”.