The Lagos State COVID-19 Taskforce was on Wednesday attacked by Muslim worshippers at the Agege Central Mosque in Lagos during an enforcement exercise.
Trouble started when the team saw the Muslim faithfuls observing their evening prayer (Solatul ishal) in a large congregation contrary to the directive of total lockdown order of President Muhammadu Buhari in other to stem the tide of the pandemic.
Pandemonium broke out as the enforcement exercise was being carried out by the Lagos State Special Taskforce on COVID-19 consisting of the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, LASEPA, Lagos Safety Commission, the Rapid Response Squad as the Taskforce was inaugurated to enforce the executive orders towards controlling the Coronavirus spread in the state.
Sighting government officials, the unruly youth became aggressive and began attacking the officials.
The crowd numbering about 300 rushed out of the mosque, chanting Allah Akbar and started throwing stones and hitting the vehicles.
Meanwhile, all efforts to talk to the cleric (Imam) failed as the youth were unabated but the police were able to curtail the atmosphere and ensure safety of the team.
The agency has been enjoying support and compliance from religious houses and was surprised that a mosque that was visited last week could default and also launch attack on government officials.
The team has visited several places of worship and have been able to enlightened them and advocate the social distancing approach in all gathering regardless of number of people presence (25 persons)
General Manager LASEPA, Dolapo Fasawe condemned the attack and described it as barbaric and uncalled for, saying the agency is out to protect the lives of the residence of the state and yet were attacked for doing their jobs
“The State will not hesitate to sanction violators to serve as deterrent to others, it was obvious the gathering did not comply with the executive order. The mosque was filled to capacity. The essence of social distancing is to curtain the spread of Coronavirus. The people are endangering their lives and those of their neighbours. The government has a duty to protect the lives of the people,” she said.
She promised to ensure that appropriate quarters take up the matter, adding that such gathering should not be allowed to continue in the interest of all.
In his own part, the DG Safety Commission, Lanre Mojola observed that the leadership of the two prominent religions have been sensitized and carried along in the fight against this COVID-19. We won’t relent, we continue to appeal to our people to heed to advice, prayers can be observed at home, businesses can be resuscitated but this deadly virus is dangerous if not well managed and timely controlled. If not for us, but for our families, friends and neighbours, let us do the needful and observe safety measures at all times, regarding where we are.
He further called for total compliance of the directive as the state won’t hesitate to apply the provision of the law if need be.