As Muslim faithful across the country join their counterparts all over the world to revel Eid-el-Kabir, the Sallah festivities will be marked in a low-key due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
LEADERSHIP Friday recalls that as part of measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the country, the federal government had last week told state governments to ban Sallah festivities today.
To this effect, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday called on Nigerians to continue to exercise patience and understanding over the inconveniences created by the precautionary measures taken for COVID-19, especially the regulations on places of worship.
In his Eid-el-Kabir Sallah message issued by presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, President Buhari said the outbreak of coronavirus has made it difficult for people to gather in places of worship as they are used to.
While urging worshippers to follow the guidelines for the safety of their lives, and loved ones, the president said, “The coronavirus has had devastating impacts on our social, economic and spiritual lives.
“The preventive guidelines we have introduced to contain the spread of this deadly disease has unfortunately limited people’s freedom to gather and worship in large numbers in mosques and Churches.
“Every measure that has been introduced to contain this disease may have its unintended consequences on the daily lives of our people, and I, therefore, call on Muslims and other faiths to continue to show more understanding with the government as we take correct steps to protect our people through social distancing.
“No elected government would intentionally take away its people’s religious freedom by limiting the number of people that will gather in worship centres at the same time.
“These guidelines are dictated by necessity in order to safeguard public health and should therefore not be perceived as an infringement on people’s right to worship,’’ he said.
President Buhari commended the sacrifices of Muslims and Christians in abiding by the COVID-19 guidelines for the good of society, assuring that “on our own part, we shall continue to provide economic reliefs to the people to minimize the unintended hardships these guidelines have inflicted.’’
The president reminded worshippers that COVID-19 is worldwide affliction with churches and mosques closed around the world and social distancing imposed to safeguard public health.
While wishing Muslims a happy celebration, Buhari urged them not to forget the symbolic significance of the sacrifices of the Eid-el-Kabir.
He said, “Muslims should imbibe the noble virtues of our great prophets in order to establish closer connectivity between religious teachings and practice
“We can create the greatest impact by putting into practice the noble teachings of our religion. In whatever we do in life, we must put the fear of God in our daily activities in order to make our society better.’’
The president reminded the people of his efforts to root out corruption in the country, stating that the efforts had so far brought a lot of changes in the country’s polity and appealed for support and understanding as investigations are carried out into both legacy cases and in fresh cases”.
Lawan, Gbajabiamila, Govs, Others Preach Tolerance
Also, the president of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, state governors and some prominent Nigerians yesterday felicitated with all Nigerians and in particular the Muslim Ummah on the occasion of this year’s celebration, even as they called for tolerance among Nigerians.
In his Eid-el-Kabir message, Lawan said Islam’s feast of sacrifice was very significant to the faith as it reminds them of the imperative of unconditional obedience to Allah, the Most Merciful.
“Through total submission to His will, we can confidently confront our challenges as individuals and as a nation,” he said.
He assured that Allah will intervene decisively at the most appropriate moment.
He said, “As people of faith, therefore, let us continue to seek the face of the Almighty in our various national wars, be they against insecurity or the COVID-19 pandemic, and as we strive to make Nigeria a comfortable home for all its citizens.
“As we celebrate the feast of sacrifice with worship, I enjoin us to be mindful of the risk of the COVID-19 pandemic and adhere strictly to the safety protocols prescribed by our public health authorities.
“The National Assembly is collaborating with the executive in responding to the pandemic as it affects our economy and general public system.
“Those of us in leadership positions must continue to be aware of our covenant of service with the Nigerian people. On our part as your elected representatives and lawmakers, we pledge to always respect your trust and serve your best interests”.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Gbajabiamila, also urged Muslims to rededicate themselves to their Creator and pray for the country during this period of Eid-el-Kabir.
Gbajabiamila said the need for prayers became more pressing at this time that the coronavirus pandemic is ravaging the world, including Nigeria.
The Speaker said with fervent prayers, Nigeria would be able to surmount the numerous challenges bedevilling the country, including insecurity.
In a Sallah message by his spokesman, Lanre Lasisi, the Speaker also urged Nigerians, irrespective of their differences, to embrace one another and be united for the progress of the country.
In his goodwill message to mark the Eid-el-Kabir festivities, Senator Omo-Agege called for celebrations that must necessarily include cautiousness about the lingering COVID- 19 pandemic, adding that there is hope for humanity to prevail over the disease as well as other challenges that continue to ravage countries across the world.
The Senator also emphasised the significance of having a strong belief in God’s words, adding that as Muslims across the world come together to celebrate Eid-el-Kabir, it is an opportunity for Christians to celebrate with their compatriots.
“Eid-el-Kabir or Eid al-Adha is another name for the Festival of the Sacrifice, also called the Sacrifice Feast or Bakr-Eid. It honours the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his only son, Isma’il (Ishmail) as an act of submission to God’s command”, he stated.
Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello felicitated with the Muslim ummah on the occasion of this year’s Eid-el-Kabir celebrations, urging citizens to imbibe virtues of peace, love and unity.
Bello admonished the people to continue to promote peaceful coexistence, religious tolerance and national unity, among other virtues that will ensure accelerated progress and socio-economic development of the state and nation at large.
In a statement by his chief press secretary, Onogwu Muhammed, the governor said Eid-el-Kabir as an occasion for the Muslim Ummah to remember the sacrifices Prophet Ibrahim made in obedience to the will of God should, thus, inculcate in all Muslims and even non-Muslim a sense of sacrifice – a sense of sacrifice that puts others and our nation first.
The governor condemned the Wednesday’s attack in Agbudu community of the state, assuring that the government would do everything possible to bring the perpetrators to book
On his part, Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State tasked the people of the state on tolerance irrespective of religion, region or creed.
Similarly, the Senator representing Nasarawa South senatorial zone, at the National Assembly, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, has felicitated with Muslims in his constituency as they celebrate Eid-el-Kabir.
The governor, in his goodwill message to Muslims Ummah, beseeched them to reaffirm their obedience to Allah’s injunction as contained in the Holy Quran and to follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad.
He also urged the people to be security conscious, shun rising cases of senseless killings by accommodating one another in spite of any provocation.
Senator Al-Makura, in a statement he personally signed, enjoined Muslim Ummah to use the period to promote peace, mutual understanding and unity of the people in his constituency, the state and country at large.
Kwara state governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, also congratulated Kwarans and every Muslim household on the occasion of Eid-el-Adha.
He prayed the Almighty God to ease the current global pandemic and insure humanity against recurrence.
AbdulRazaq specifically felicitated with and commended the Emir of Ilorin, Dr Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari and the various religious establishments for their support for the government’s preventive measures ahead of the festivities.
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau and chairman of the Northern Governors Forum also rejoiced with Nigerian Muslims on the occasion of another Eid-el-Kabir, urging them not to allow the impact of the Corona virus pandemic to demoralise their faith.
Lalong said this year’s celebration came at a peculiar time when the world was working hard to tame the Coronavirus pandemic which has altered the way of life of people across the world.
The governor, in a press statement issued by his director of press, Simon Makut Macham said, “Although the Muslim faithful is marking this year’s Salah in unusual circumstances of restrictions, the essence of this spiritual event cannot be neglected.
“This is the time to demonstrate the virtues of peace, love, sacrifice and tolerance that are taught by the Prophet Mohammed”.
On his part, Gombe State governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, admonished the faithful to remain steadfast in prayers for peace, prosperity and development of the state, as well as for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Describing the Eid el-Kabir festivity as a period of sacrifice, sharing and caring, the Yahaya enjoined the faithful to continue to imbibe the spirit of sacrifice, love, unity of purpose and obedience as exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and upheld by Prophet Muhammad ( SAW).
The governor said, “Although this year’s celebration is coming at a period the world is still grappling with the novel coronavirus pandemic and its devastating impact on lives and means of livelihood of the people, such should not distract us from learning the good lessons of the festival which teaches compassion, selfishness, love and obedience to the commands of Almighty Allah.”
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, also felicitated with Muslims in the state and in the country at large as they join other faithful around the world to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Kabir, which he described as “Sallah with a lot of difference”.
Abiodun urged the Muslims Ummah to uphold the lessons of love, loyalty and sacrifice which is the foundation of the festival, during and after the festivities.
The governor, in a goodwill message signed by his chief press secretary, Kunle Somorin, said the Eid-el-Kabir festival offers the opportunity for sober reflection and spiritual renewal which Allah demands from the faithful.
Cross River State governor, Sir Ben Ayade, urged Muslims in Nigeria, particularly those living in the state to put aside differences and push for the unity of the country.
In statement signed by his special adviser on Media, Christian Ita, Ayade enjoined them to imbibe attitude that portrays tolerance, and togetherness as they mark the celebration of this year’s Eid-el-Kabir.
The governor urged them to emulate Prophet Ibrahim who despite his predicaments sacrificed to fulfill the commandment of Allah as well as the constituted authority.
While wishing all Muslims happy Eid-el-Kabir celebrations, Ayade prayed for Allah’s blessings and protection with endless peace and joy.
Benue State governor Samuel Otrom urged citizens of the state to take advantage of the COVID-19 period which has accorded them more time with their families to promote values that seek to guide the younger generation against societal ills.
The governor who made this known to mark this year’s celebration of Eid-el-Kabir, also admonished Muslim faithful to commit themselves to the Holy Prophet’s injunction of peace, tolerance, charity and generosity to the less privileged.
He stated that the family was the first school for any human being and as such, parents and guardians owe their children the duty of teaching them to avoid cultism, drugs abuse and misuse, alcohol abuse, as well as criminal activities while imbibing the virtues of love, honesty and the fear of God.
Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, also sent a goodwill message to the Muslim community in the state as they commemorate the Eid-El-Kabir celebration.
In the message which was signed by his chief press secretary, Barr Onyebuchi Ememanka, Ikpeazu urged them to use the occasion to reflect deeply on the message of their faith.
He expressed appreciation to them for their commitment to peace and good neighborliness, urging them to continue to hold onto the virtues among others, they are generally noted for.
The governor assured that his administration was committed to the provision of an enabling environment which will allow adherents of all peaceful faiths to practice their religion.
His words: “As you celebrate, please remember that COVID-19 remains a global challenge. Many of our compatriots get infected on a daily basis as can be seen from statistics from the NCDC”.
Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, felicitated the Muslim faithful on the occasion of this year’s Eid-el-Kabir.
Governor Uzodimma said that this year’s Eid-el-Kabir was peculiar because it is celebrated when the world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic of which Nigeria is not an exception.
While calling on our Muslim brothers and sisters to imbibe the spirit of love, peace, kindness and sacrifice for which Prophet Mohammed is noted for, Uzodimma urged them to also use the opportunity of the Eid-el-Kabir to pray fervently for the end of the challenge of coronavirus pandemic.
Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, admoned Muslim Ummah to continue to keep adhering to the teachings of love, sacrifice and perseverance, which the festival exemplifies.
Makinde, in a Sallah Message signed by his chief press secretary, Taiwo Adisa, noted that the Festival of Sacrifice known as Eid-el-Kabir, “presents an opportunity for Muslims to reflect on the faith with which Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) willingly agreed to sacrifice his son, in obedience to the command of the Almighty Allah”.
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