By Ovie Okpare
Scores of Muslims attended ‘Friday Prayers’ otherwise known as Jumu’ah service in Ughelli, the administrative headquarters of Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State in violation of the sit-at-home directive by the state government.
The Jumu’ah service which held at the Mosque in Hausa Quarter by Okorodafe Junction near the popular Ughelli Main Market started about 12:10pm on Friday.
Our correspondent who was monitoring the lockdown in Ughelli observed many Muslims leaving the Mosque while many others were see discussing in groups around the premises at about 1:15pm.
It was learnt that security operatives who attempted to enforce the lockdown directive retreated for fear of causing tension in the area.
Our reporter who visited the mosque to confirm the development was not allowed to take photographs for fear of being attacked by worshippers.
Some security agencies who were enforcing the sit-at-home order at the Okorodafe Roundabout along the Market Road lamented the violation of the directive by the worshippers.
“We tried to stop the Jumu’ah service but the worshippers were bent on going on with the prayer session. We left just to save the situation. It’s up to you journalists to tell the world what you have seen here”, one of the security team comprising of policemen, Anti-Cult group and others told newsmen.
A resident of the area who simply identified himself as Oghenekaro lamented the violation of the state government’s banning congregation at worship centres across the state by the worshippers.
Oghenekaro noted that the service would be shut midway if it was to be Christian service.
When contacted, the State Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, said public gatherings including religious worship remained for the period of the sit-at-home order across the state.
While saying that he cannot immediately confirmed if worshippers attended the Friday’s Jumu’ah service, the commissioner urged religious leaders and residents of the state to adhere strictly to the sit-at-home order by the government.
He added that the state government would investigate the report.