Hundreds of Muslims residing in Abuja, on Sunday, invaded various prayer grounds in neighbouring Nasarawa State to join their counterparts in prayers to mark the end of Ramadan fasting.
Our correspondent observed that many Muslims left their homes in Karu and other areas which share boundary with Nasarawa State early in the morning with their mats for the religious exercise.
Majority of the worshippers sighted at Nyayan, Mararaba, Masaka, Ardo up to Keffi, were without face masks and they also ignored the social distancing rules.
Some of them, who spoke with our correspondent, said they decided to leave Abuja for Nasarawa because the Federal Capital Territory Administration had not relaxed the lockdown to allow congregational worship.
The worshippers explained that since the government of Nasarawa State had lifted the ban on religious activities for two weeks, they decided to move with their family to the state to observe the exercise.
One of the worshippers, Ibrahim Isah, told our correspondent in Keffi that many of them were not wearing the face masks because they were not used to it.
He said, “I don’t wear face mask like others because we are not used to it. We only wash our hands with soaps from time to time.”
Another adherent of Islam, Khadijat Mohammed, said the social distancing rule was not obeyed because the worshippers were members of the same family who live in the same neighbourhood.
She said, “Here in Nasarawa, we live a communal life and we have large families. There is no way we could avoid physical contact with our relatives because we are in celebration mood.”
However, a former governor of the state, who is now the representative of Nasarawa West Senatorial District, in the National Assembly, Abdullahi Adamu, has expressed concern over the development.
He told our correspondent in an interview in Keffi on Sunday that the Federal Government, based on advice from medical experts, placed a ban on religious activities for now in order to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
He expressed the hope that the action of state governments, which unbanned religious gathering when the fight against coronavirus was still ongoing, would not have a negative impact on the health of the citizenry.
He said, “I am not a soothsayer but I wish states that have unbanned religious activities the best of luck. We must do the best if we expect the best.
“If people disobey the rules, the consequences are there. I don’t want to be speculative but I’m sad that rules aimed at preserving our health are being relaxed with impunity.
“I observed that there is congestion in the worship centres but I hope we will get over it.”