The Kaduna State government says it has arrested two Islamic clerics for conducting congregational prayers in the state.
The state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, made the disclosure in a statement issued on Saturday in Kaduna.
He said that the clerics were apprehended in Malali and Ungwan Kanawa communities of Kaduna North Local Government area of the state.
Aruwan, while warning against violating the restriction of movement order in the state, said that the conduct of the arrested clerics violated government’s orders as well as the advice given by leaders of faith in the state.
“The state government is especially grateful to religious and community leaders who have joined in appealing to the public to abide by public health warnings.
“We thank the media for amplifying the message of prevention and the security agencies that are enforcing the extraordinary measures.
However, government has also sadly noted that certain individuals, including clerics, are violating the restriction of movement, large gatherings, trading and congregational prayers.
“This is patently an illegal and irresponsible conduct, especially at a time like this which requires sober and rational conduct to protect our people from Coronavirus.
“Therefore, the state government has arrested two clerics for conducting congregational prayers on March 27, in two communities.
“Their conduct violated government orders as well as advice given by leaders of faith and they will be prosecuted accordingly,” he said.
Aruwan said government expected compliance with the restriction of movement orders and would continue to enforce them.
“Anyone who decides to jeopardise his/her prestige and social standing through wanton violation of orders made to protect public welfare and good health should expect a firm response.
“It should be clear that the inconvenience associated with the preventive measures, while being regretted, is nothing compared to the sufferings and deaths that Coronavirus will cause, if it is allowed to get to the state and spread,” he said.
According to the commissioner, security agencies will continue to enforce government orders and uphold the 24-hour curfew, until further notice.
“Those who seek to defy the directives stand the risk of arrest and prosecution,” he warned.