On Monday, the Lagos State Government condemned the blockage of roads by religious bodies during prayers.
Dr Abdulhakeem Abdullateef, Commissioner for Home Affairs, said this at the 2018 Ministerial Press Briefing of the Ministry to mark the three years in office of Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, at Alausa, Lagos.
Abdullateef said that causing obstruction or blocking the public road to offer prayers was not proper, as it could endanger lives of worshipers.
“Let us face the fact; you know I am a chief Imam. There are places where your prayers will not be accepted by God, and this is serious.
“If you block the road while praying, that prayer is not acceptable to God. Worshiping in the middle of the road and denying other road users is unacceptable and should stop.
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“It has happened before. Where people claimed that they were having their prayer and an ambulance was taking a woman to hospital.
“We fought to disperse all of them, one of them even accused me that I am not a believer, I told him, yes I’m not a believer in obstruction,” he said.
Abdullateef said religious bodies had no right to block the road during prayers as they did not have survey plan of the road as part of their property.
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“Nobody has survey plan of the road as part of his own C of O. When a Mosque or Church is approved for construction by the Ministry of Physical Planning, you will never see the road as part of your property. So, you have no right.
“All we need to do is that if you have population explosion, you can pray twice. A group can pray first, the second group can pray later.
“So, obstruction of public spaces during prayer is unacceptable; even religion does not allow it, and the same thing applies to both Muslim and Christian religion.
“Whatever we want to do, let us keep ourselves within the ambit of the law,” he said.
The commissioner urged residents to report Churches or Mosques who constitute nuisance or cause noise pollution during their religious activities.
“I need to explain the difference between trespassing and nuisance that trespassing is when you carry out what you want to do on a premises that is not yours while nuisance is when you are doing something within your premises and you now extend to somebody else’s premises.
“We will continue to engage religious leaders in the state because this issue is not about sentiment but the law.
“The Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), Lagos chapter, is doing a good job in resolving issues like this at the local level to promote peaceful co-existence among religious bodies,” he said.