COVID-19: Nigerians Adjusting To Ban On Social, Religious Gathering

To contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in Lagos, the State Government ordered civil servants from level 1-12 to stay at home after it has announced the closure of all schools in the state, as well as placed restriction of social gatherings amounting to more than twenty people.

Following these restrictions, Information Nigeria spoke with few religious leaders, students, as well as traders to get reactions to the government’s directive.

Just a day after the ban on social gatherings of more than twenty persons, many churches adopted a method that did not in any way go against large gatherings.

Lord’s Chosen Church at Ejigbo area of Lagos held Sunday service that was conducted in batches. Each batch accommodated members in pairs of fifty, giving number tags to members who were eager to identify and worship.

A member of the church, ‘Favour’, said she understands that the government is doing what it can to contain the spread, however, this is not a time to look away from God.

“We followed all they said and we understand why the government is restricting worship, but this is not a time to be looking away from God as only him can save us.”

A church member of The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Pako, Akoka area of Lagos pointed out that at this time, Nigerians need to look up to God more than ever for solution to COVID-19 pandemic

A Deacon of the church, Mr Nze, said the church adhered to the state’s restriction but however, urged all Christians to call on God for his help.

While few churches did not gather at all for worship, others did in a bid to call on God for his intervention.

The impact of the restriction extends both public and private schools, including tertiary institutions. Armando-Silva, a masters student at the University of Lagos who had just packed his bags out from the hostel, stressed the impact of the restriction on the education sector.

Mr Armando-Silva expressed the importance of containing the spread and the impact of the closure of schools.

“So I think the fact that they asked us to leave the hostels is very important and generally speaking, I feel like a lot of other activities should be halted because it is important to contain this. Imagine having one student with the virus on campus, that’s all it takes to get everyone infected. So, this is the best move, everyone should be indoors.

“I personally just think that the halt on education, as you call it, will only affect the calendar for education as for the economy, education has never had a huge impact on the economy, it’s usually the other way around, at least in this part of the world.’

A non-academic staff of the University of Lagos, Mrs Elizabeth Ugoala shared her bits as she pointed out that the impact the closure of schools will have on the economy will not really be felt as the education system is not really as strong in Nigeria when placed side by side with the economy of the country.

“I personally think that when this is over, schools will just pick up from where they stopped, ASUU, in all of this, is on strike, so what are we really talking about?'” she said.