A delegation from the Lagos State Government led by the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi and the Director-General of the Lagos State Safety Commission, Mr. Lanre Mojola, visited the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) at the weekend to inspect facilities at the church for COVID safety and prevention protocols in preparation for the funeral rites of its late founder, Prophet Temitope Joshua.
Speaking after the inspection of the church facilities and meeting with its officials, Abayomi said the inspection was in line with the third wave mitigation strategy of the Lagos State Government to prevent the importation and spread of new deadly strains of COVID into Lagos and Nigeria.
While noting that the Late Prophet was a prominent person with a large congregation and followers from around the world, the Commissioner said the funeral rites would expectedly attract people from within and outside Nigeria, who will come to pay their last respect to the clergy.
He explained that the Lagos State Government considers the funeral activities at SCOAN an important event that requires strict compliance to COVID safety protocols in order to prevent the importation, transmission or spread of the new deadly strains of COVID infection into the State or country.
Abayomi disclosed that the inspection and meeting with officials of SCOAN were at the behest of the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who directed that SCOAN be given all the support required to host the funeral programme for its late founder under strict COVID prevention protocols to limit any possible introduction of foreign COVID variants in Lagos.
He said: “On behalf of the Lagos State Government we want to offer our deep condolences to the family of the prophet and members of the congregation. In these very precarious times that we are in, with a global pandemic that is evolving dynamically, what we now know is that there are different strains of the virus circulating the world, and Lagos State has a very strong third wave prevention strategy”.
“The likely cause of a third wave is going to be an importation from visitors who are infected with the virus, so we are particularly careful about working with the Synagogue to make sure that we have a collaboration that will reduce the opportunity of either importing a virus or even allowing someone positive to interact with the community”.
“So we have had series of engagements with the officials and executive of SCOAN. We are also in touch with the Federal Government, the Presidential Steering Committee and the Federal Ministry of Health”.
“And the Incident Commander, Mr. Governor has said that this a priority event and we have to ensure that we give SCOAN all the support it requires to make sure that the series of planned events for the funeral scheduled between the 5th of July and the 11th of July are performed under the strictness guidelines.”
While noting that there are some areas of infection prevention protocols that need strengthening in the church, Abayomi assured that those areas would be addressed before and during the funeral activities, adding that biosecurity and safety experts will also be on ground to work with the local organising committee to monitor and ensure the safety of attendees.
The team from the State Government, which also included the Incident Manager of the Emergency Operations Centre of Lagos COVID Response, Dr. Ismail Abdulsalam, members of the Lagos State Ministry of Health Biosecurity team, officials of the Lagos State Safety Commission and representatives of the Federal Ministry of Health’s Port Health Services, inspected the auditorium, marquee tent, hostel accommodation for international guests and sanitary facilities.