The Kano State Council of Ulamas on Wednesday, May 20, has expressed its opposition at the decision of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje to relax the COVID-19 lockdown in order to allow mosques and churches to resume congregational prayers in the state.
Due to the virulence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the clerics said the decision risks increasing the rate of infections in a state which has more cases than any other except Lagos.
This stance was expressed by the head of the council, Ibrahim Khalil, during an interview with the BBC Hausa Service.
Khalil said the government should have considered the continued spread of the virus in the state in its decision.
He further explained the state government failed to consult with the council before taking the decision.
1st News had reported that Ganduje had announced the lifting of the COVID-19 ban on congregational and ‘Eid’ prayers; while insisting that congregants must continue to obey the physical distancing rule.
Ganduje made this declaration shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari’s extension of the lockdown in Kano by an additional two weeks.
However, a spokesperson of the Kano Government, Salihu Tanko, in a brief statement posted on Facebook, had said the governor’s decision was based on “recommendations by 30 Islamic scholars in the state.”
Tanko said the scholars asked Ganduje to allow Friday prayers to hold as well as Eid prayers.
He said the governor gave his directive “after a lengthy consultation with the Islamic scholars and other government officials.”
But Khalil said the ulamas were not consulted.
“In this period of the epidemic, since the government has allowed congregational prayers to hold; individuals can also decide for themselves not to risk their lives. Especially those with underlying illnesses should stay at home instead.
“Those that feel they can go to the mosque; if they don’t have any problems can go ahead and pray in congregations. There is no sin for anyone that doesn’t go to mosque as far as he has concrete reasons,” Khalil said.