On Wednesday, worshippers at Agege Central Mosque attacked agents of Lagos State government, enforcing the on-going presidential lockdown, have been roundly condemned by senior government officials.
According to Tribune Newspaper, the lockdown enforcement officials were doing their rounds when they discovered that the gathering at the mosque breached both the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on lockdown and social distancing, aimed at slowing down the spiking coronavirus infection in the state as well as Ogun State and Abuja.
A statement issued by the spokesperson of the enforcement team, Mrs. Bola Ajao, claimed that the mosque was packed to the hilt as about 300 worshippers crammed into the mosque when the officially-sanctioned for any gathering for now, is maximum, 25 people.
Ajao who is the head of the media unit of Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, says the worshippers trooped out against the enforcement team, shouting Allah Akbar, while going for anything official, at sight.
According to her, “The Lagos State COVID-19 Taskforce was yesterday attacked by Muslim worshippers at the Agege Central Mosque. The team saw the Muslim faithful observing their evening prayer (solatul ishal) in a large congregation contrary to the directive of total lockdown order of President Muhammad Buhari in order to stem the tide of the pandemic.
“The enforcement exercise which was 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 Respond and the Taskforce, was inaugurated to enforce the executive orders, towards controlling the coronavirus spread in the state.
“A drama however ensued, (when) at the sight of government officials, the youth became aggressive and unruly with targeted attacks on the officials. The crowd numbering about 300 rushed out of the mosque, chanting ALLAH Akbar and started throwing g stones and hitting the vehicles. All entreaties, to talk to the Imam, failed as the youth were unabated. The police were able to curtail the atmosphere (ugly situation) 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 has been able to enlighten them and advocate the social distancing approach in all gathering, regardless of number of people present (25 people maximum).
“General manager LASEPA, Dolapo Fasawe condemned the attack and described it as barbaric and uncalled for, saying our people were out to protect the lives of the residents of the state and yet attacked for doing their jobs, adding that the state would 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 curtail the spread of the coronavirus. The people are endangering their lives and those of their neighbors. 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.