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The ongoing discussion between the Lagos State government and religious leaders in the state may have been inconclusive as both cannot settle at an agreement over the conditions laid out by the government for religious leaders.

One of such conditions is the registration of Churches before they can open for service. Other conditions have to do with meeting other sanitary, hygienic and safety conditions before opening Churches for the members and the general public.

A release purportedly coming from CAN leaders in the state disclosed several other moves made by both parties to reach an amicable solution to the debacle.

The CAN leaders advised that the issue of registration should be suspended and “should not even be on the table for now, until after the tension generated by COVID 19, is nipped in the bud.

“Furthermore, we asked the government to look into the letter submitted by CAN urgently and call us for another urgent meeting to resolve all issues as the opening date is very close. We will continue to pray that the cases would show a downward trend, through the continued mercy and grace of God. We now await their call for this meeting.”

Another issue raised by CAN leadership was that they wanted the government to give them full recognition and control over matters that involve Churches and Christians in Lagos State.

The statement read in part, “We wish to place it on record, that CAN is a duly-registered association under CAC; and the umbrella-body for all Christian Churches in Nigeria at all levels, of the nation’s administrative architecture, including Lagos State. Therefore, we wish to state for the record, that we are a religious institution, not a “religious center”, as indicated.

“The list and registration of Churches, already approved by government, is the prerogative of our association. Hence, registration of Churches should not and cannot be a requirement for opening of Church buildings which were closed, because of the pandemic of Coronavirus, in cooperation with the Lagos State Government.”

The association however refused to take responsibility for Churches approved by government, without CAN’s recommendation letter.

Meanwhile, the CAN leadership has agreed to cooperate with the government over its efforts to ensure safety of lives in Lagos State during and beyond the COVID -19 period.

“We have put in place a CAN monitoring team, under the CAN secretariat leadership at all levels, to cooperate and interface with your compliance team. This is to avoid unnecessary confrontation, by overzealous enforcement officers, at any of our Church services.

“We appeal strongly against any undue interference during our worship, in the name of enforcement. As an independent institution, we reserve the right to our own mode of worship; and will not accept directives that may interfere with this sacred heritage, under any disguise.”

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Julius Adegunna, a writer, and publisher of good news and reports. He is also a trainer in Writing and Publishing, a Media Consultant and an Entrepreneur. A 1987 Graduate of International Relations of the University of Ife, (Now Obafemi Awolowo University) with Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations, and Master in Communication Studies of Lagos State University. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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