Visitors turned back as Buhari observes Jum’aat prayers in Aso Rock

President Muhammadu Buhari and other worshippers at the State House Mosque, Abuja on Friday, 05/06/2020

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday observed the first Jum’aat prayers at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, after the release of new guidelines on religious gathering.

President Buhari was joined by senior personal aides.

While visitors wishing to join the prayers were politely excused by the security aides, all those from Grade Level 14 and above, who participated were thoroughly screened.

Social distancing was also strictly observed in line with guidelines on public gathering.

The Chief Imam of the State House Mosque, Ustadh Abdul-Wahid Suleiman, led the two rakaat (units) of prayers observed after the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 released new guidelines on religious gathering on Tuesday.

The National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Aliyu Sani, said worship centres will only be permitted to operate for a maximum of one hour each time they meet.

Aliyu, who said churches and mosques are only allowed to operate between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily, added that each service should be a maximum of an hour to allow time for disinfection.

He also said Friday prayers in mosques should not exceed one hour.

“For churches, each service should be for a maximum of an hour with an interval of 30 minutes in between services to allow time for disinfection.

“Mosques may open 15 minutes before and 10 minutes after prayers. The total time for Friday prayers should not exceed an hour,” he added.

The guidelines discourage all close contact including shaking hands, hugging, kissing, handing out of materials and sharing of worship implements including prayer mats, musical organs, microphones etc.

On Thursday, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administration released guidelines on reopening of places of worship.

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