The Lagos State Safety Commission has trained religious leaders selected from the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas in ensuring religious facilities operated in line with COVID-19 safety protocols,
The Director-General of the Safety Commission, Lanre Mojola, made this known in Lagos on Wednesday.
Mojola described the pandemic as a great disruption that had brought grief to many around the world, financial difficulties to many citizens and humongous changes to our daily life.
He said places of worship had also not been spared from the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mojola urged religious leaders to conscientiously observe all the laid-down protocols to prevent the spread of the virus and ensuring worshippers adhere strictly to the guidelines at all times.
He said: “This training is to enlighten religious leaders from across the state as they are opening their places of worship in line with the directive of the COVID-19 incident Commander.
“The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, says it is imperative that we sensitise and teach religious leaders basic hygiene management, safety protocols and measures as a requirement for them to understand and to identify possible cases of COVID-19.
“Religious leaders should be able to identify COVID-19 cases and also keep records of possible suspected cases.”
Mojola acknowledged that there were strict adherence to COVID-19 prevention guidelines in all the places of worship visited during the first week of lifting the ban on religious gatherings in the state.
In a message, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, said the state had held and would continue to hold various sensitisation campaigns for the religious leaders to ensure the safety of clerics and their followers.
Elegushi described the training as a “train-the-trainer” health and safety measures.
The Commissioner, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Adebunmi Adekanye, advised participants to replicate the knowledge they would acquire during the one-day event to other clerics and adherents in their various council areas.
Elegushi said government wanted the religious leaders to go back, teach others and had a multiplier effect at the LCDAs and Local Government levels to make them have total compliance with the COVID-19 protocols for reopening of worship centres.
The Chief Imam of Lagos, Sheik Sulaimon Abou-Nola, was represented by Alhaji Shakirudeen Abdul-Gafar, and the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Prof. Alexander Bamgbola, was represented by the Very Rev. Fr. Mathew Ogunyase.
The religious leaders present at the training described it as essential to the physical and religious well-being of all Lagosians.
The religious leaders also promised to fulfil their responsibilities by duly replicating the training at all other levels.