Lagos Ramadan message: 209 inmates released, families can arrange funerals , face mask mandatory

The Lagos Mail has obtained an update on the Corona Virus situation and the Ramadan message by the Lagos State Government. The message is as follows:

Update on the Coronavirus situation in Lagos State.
By the Chief Incident Commander, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
April 25, 2020, Lagos, Nigeria.

Dear Lagosians,
I am here again today to address you on some issues regarding the Coronavirus pandemic.
But I must start on a very special note, by wishing all our Muslim brothers and sisters Ramadan Kareem. This is an important season in the life of every Muslim around the world; a commemoration of one of the pillars of Islam. Ramadan is a time that demands obedience, self-denial, sacrifice, discipline, and a re-dedication of one’s life to the worship of Almighty Allah.
This year’s commemoration, as you all know, is taking place in unusual circumstances. When the year 2020 kicked off, nobody imagined that Ramadan would take place amidst a global lockdown, occasioned by the greatest public health challenge of our lifetime.
In the spirit of sacrifice and discipline that Ramadan represents, I want to make this appeal to all our Muslim brothers and sisters in Lagos State, to please ensure that the observance of the season is carried out in a manner that is compliant with all the health directives that we have laid out to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
Observe all your meals and prayers within your homes. I know that the usual practice is for people to gather together to observe Iftar and Suhur, but please, because of the pandemic, we must during this month of Ramadan shelve all gatherings.
These restrictions also apply to the congregational Tarawih prayers and Tafsif sessions that are the hallmarks of this devout period.
When you want to perform ablution, please ensure to first wash your hands very well with soap. Since the process of ablution involves touching the face, it is essential to make sure that your hands are clean. Having washed your hands with soap and water, you can then go ahead to perform the ablution as is customary.
As you very well know, every action that is taken to prevent the spread of any contagious disease is fully in line with the teachings of the Holy Quran.
It is for these same reasons that the two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia are currently closed to the public. A few days ago, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, under the leadership of the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, directed that there should be no congregational prayers and teaching sessions in mosques during this Ramadan.
By complying with these directives and orders we will be protecting ourselves, OUf dear State and the nation at large from the Coronavirus.
May the Almighty God, who has spared OUf lives to see this Ramadan month, make it possible for us to be here again this time next year. Amen.
SITUATION UPDATE
Dear Lagosians, as at midnight yesterday April 24, 2020, Lagos State had a total of 670 confirmed cases of Covid-19, an increase of 291 cases since the last time I addressed you, on Monday April 20. What this means is that we have seen a 76% increase in our number of confirmed cases within 4 days, an average of 70 cases daily. These numbers demonstrate the following:
One, that we are now flrmly in the community transmission phase of this pandemic in Lagos;
Two, that our strategy of ramping up testing especially within local communities is working, and,
Three, that this is not the time for us to relax or to slow down in the efforts we are making to break the chain of transmission.
On an uplifting note, the number of discharged cases in Lagos continues to rise, only yesterday we discharged another batch of 10 patients who have been treated and have now tested negative for the virus. We have now discharged a total of 115 cases in Lagos since the outbreak of the pandemic. We expect that the numbers of discharged patients will continue to rise and bring hope and optimism to all of us, not only in Lagos but across the country as well.
FUNERALS
Dear Lagosians, keeping the rising curve of the infection at the back of our minds, the only people who should be out and about at this period are those who absolutely have to be.
Everyone else, please stay at home!
For those who have to go out, please ensure that you use a mask, and maintain appropriate physical distancing.
Still on this matter of essential movement, I would like to speak concerning funerals. One of the outcomes of this lockdown is that many families and households have had to postpone funeral plans for loved ones who have passed away before or during this period.
As you might know, many Christian denominations do not carry out funerals during the Lenten Season. Funerals are typically kept on hold during this period, and scheduled for the period immediately following the end of Lent.
Unfortunately, this year, the Covid-19 Lockdown coincided with the end of Lent, which caused many families and households to further suspend or put off funeral plans.
Because of this inability to hold funerals, occasioned by the restrictions on movement, the mortuaries in Lagos State are now full and in urgent need of decongestion. Let me make it clear at this point that these are not Covid-19 deaths.
I urge the media to be responsible in reporting this: The mortuaries in Lagos are not full because of Covid-19 deaths — the total number of Covid-19 deaths in Lagos as at today is 20; the only reason the mortuaries are full at this time is because funerals are not being held, and have not been held for most of the last two months.
I am now constrained to make this appeal to all Lagosians who have the corpses of loved ones in the mortuaries, to please go ahead and schedule these funerals.
Let me make it clear that funerals are on the list of activities exempted from the lockdown restrictions. You can hold or attend funeral ceremonies in Lagos State as long as you comply with the requirements that we have outlined, as follows:
‘ The total number of persons at the funeral, including offlciating religious leaders, must not exceed 20.
‘ Physical distancing must be maintained at the funeral ceremony.
‘ All attendees/mourners must use masks and ensure they wash their hands after the ceremony.
‘ There must be no receptions Of parties to accompany these funerals.
Rest assured that as long as these directives are fully complied with, funerals will be allowed and encouraged to take place.
If we are unable to see a decongestion of the mortuaries across the State in the next two weeks, the Lagos State Government will be compelled to carry out mass burials to achieve this. We do not want to be forced to do this, which is why we are asking for your cooperation in this regard.
FACE MASKS
I have touched on the issue of masks a few times in previous addresses. Let me now formally announce that face masks are now compulsory in public places in Lagos State. Failure to use masks in public will invite sanctions and penalties.
We have commenced arrangements for the production of large quantities of face-masks for the use of the people of Lagos State. This is indeed a great opportunity for many businesses, small and large, in the State, to contribute to the Covid-19 response while also getting a chance to do business and earn money.
I want to appeal to the private sector to please patronise these manufacturers, and purchase these masks for distribution to your employees.
I would also like to urge everyone to please leave the medical-grade N-95 masks for the use of medical workers who need them the most. All of us, who are not medical workers should make do with simple cloth masks.
PREROGATIVE OF MERCY
Dear people of Lagos, in exercise of the powers conferred on me by
Section 212 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), I have, this afternoon, following the recommendation of the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy, signed a Release Order releasing 209 inmates remanded in various correctional centres in Lagos State.
This was done in part to decongest correctional centres in view of the Covid-19 Pandemic; and is part of a larger effort to bring lasting reform to the administration of criminal justice in the country.
The beneficiaries of this release order are the following:
• above 60 years of age;
• less than 6 months to go on their sentence;
• have served 75 per cent of their sentence;
• those serving time for misdemeanours and minor offences; and
• those with physical and mental health issues.
THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON
As I end this address, I want to appeal to all of us who are privileged, in this period, to carry on in this spirit of kindness and mercy and endeavour to extend a hand of kindness to all those who are less endowed around us, in our compounds, estates, neighbourhoods.
I know that many people are already doing this, I want to encourage even more people to do so; to share meals, and kindness. To be privileged in this situation does not necessarily mean that you are rich or that you have far more than you need, it simply means being able to share out of whatever you have been blessed with.
This is the spirit of the Ramadan season we are in, the spirit of sacrifice, of sharing.
Once again I pray for all Muslim faithful in Lagos State, that you will experience the fullness of the blessings of this Holy Month. Ameen. I thank you all for listening.
Thank you.
Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu Governor Lagos State.
April 25, 2020.

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