Osun government says it will ensure strict enforcement of COVID-19 protocols at the grand finale of the annual Osun Osogbo festival, slated for Friday.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Rafiu Isamotu, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
on Wednesday in Osogbo.
Isamotu said that government would intensify its risk communication as far observance of COVID-19 protocols was concerned during the festival.
He said that all the attendees would be mandated to wear their face masks, while social distancing would also be enforced.
Although the commissioner said it might not be possible to conduct COVID-19 screening for all the attendees at the groove, he, however, said that all visitors would be mandated to observe safety protocols.
He also added that all the attendees would not be allowed to go into the groove at once, while hand washing facilities would be made available there.
“We cannot prevent the traditional worshippers from observing their festivals because nobody prevented both Christians and Muslims from observing theirs. There is freedom of worship.
“However, we will ensure strict observance of COVID-19 protocols at the groove to prevent the spread of the virus.
“We know that people will come from other states. Whatever we ask them to do as far as observance of safety protocols is concerned, they do not have choice,” the commissioner said.
According the Curator and Site Manager of the groove, Mr Adekunle Fatai, more than 40,000 visitors are expected at the festival.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the grand finale of the festival will witness the sacrificial offering by Arugba (calabash carrier) at the Osun Osogbo sacred groove.
NAN also reports that the groove had been recognised as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site in 2015.
The festival is organised annually to make sacrifice to the Osun River goddess. (NAN)