President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with Nigerians and Muslims across the globe as they mark the Eid-el-fitrfollowing the completion of a month of fasting.
In a personally signed statement, the president said there was need for solidarity among citizens, including Muslims and Christians to end the nation’s security challenges.
He said: “On this blessed occasion, I wish that the Eid festival brings with it peace, safety, security, brotherhood and love amongst all.
“Unity and solidarity among all citizens, Muslims and Christians are imperative especially at a time when our country is faced with multiple challenges which are surmountable only when we come together as one.
“It is important that we remember how we share, through our faiths, common bonds that should serve to unite us and not allow ourselves to succumb to those who seek to divide us, using our two great religions, for their own selfish advantages.
“We should jointly pray against the tragic incidents of kidnapping and banditry and the desperate quest for political power expressed through blackmail against the existence of our country as a united entity.
“We must resist the temptation to retreat into our communities. I urge our political and religious leaders as well as traditional rulers to encourage our citizens to turn towards one another in love and compassion.”
President Buhari said it is noteworthy and delightful to see Christians breaking fast and in some instances, extending goodwill and gifts to Muslim faithful during the Ramadan.
“This model also shone through with Muslim groups joining Christian festivities. These are practices that promote brotherhood and forgiveness,” he said.
The president also urged Nigerians to continue to observe all COVID-19 preventive measures and celebrate responsibly during the holidays.
In similar messages, Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker House of Representatives called on Nigerian to embrace the path of peace as a way out of the nation’s current predicament.
In a message issued in Abuja Wednesday, Lawan said: “Every true Muslim feels joy at participating in the Ramadan fast, which is a key obligation in Islam. May Almighty Allah therefore reward us for the spiritual voyage and grant our earnest wishes for ourselves, families and dear country.
“Because of the current security and economic challenges, our country Nigeria needs the prayers of every patriot now more than ever before to achieve the peace, unity and progress that were the dreams of the founding fathers.
“I assure us that the Government, including the National Assembly, will not waver in its determination to provide robust security in the country that guarantees every law abiding citizen the liberty to live in peace and pursue their legitimate businesses anywhere they choose.
“Let us remain strong in our hope that Nigeria will become what we fervently want it to be: a nation that fills its citizens with happiness and pride.”
He urged the Muslim faithful to use the occasion to touch the lives of families, friends and the less-privileged.
Also, Speaker Gbajabiamila called on Muslims to pray for Nigeria as they play their part in ensuring peaceful coexistence.
In a statement signed by his media aide, Lanre Lasisi, he urged Muslims to internalise the lessons learnt during the month of Ramadan for a better society.
“The Islamic religion emphasizes peace, which is why every Muslim must be peaceful in their conduct wherever they find themselves,” he said.
Atiku, Obi too
In the same vein, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general election, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has reminded Muslim faithful on their obligation at ensuring peace.
In a statement Wednesday, the Wazirin Adamawa said: “It is by the injunction of the Almighty Allah that we undertook fasting in the Holy Month of Ramadan. Having fulfilled the command, I congratulate fellow Muslim brothers and sisters in Nigeria and across the globe for a successful completion of the Ramadan fasting and to wish us all a happy Eid-al-fitr celebration.
“The significance of the celebration today (tomorrow) is not limited to having completed the circle of our obligation in the Holy Month of Ramadan. It extends to causing a reminder on ourselves to remain steadfast in our pursuit to attain piety.
“This year’s Eid-al-fitr is coming at a time when Nigeria is going through a challenging moment concerning the security of lives and property and when a large number of our people are hard hit by the ravaging scourge of poverty.
“As Muslims, we need to remind ourselves of our obligation to ensuring peace and unity within our family and in our neighbourhood at all times. Today, across Nigeria, there is a scary and growing tendency to mistrust along ethnic and religious lines. As Muslims, we know from both the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of Noble Prophet Muhammad (SAW) that no tribe or race is superior to another, except the one that seeks piety to the Almighty Allah. We do not attain piety through hate or blood-letting. We attain piety through forbearance and by sharing love. That is the message that we must give some reflection as we celebrate Eid today.
“Once again, on behalf of my family, I wish all Muslims a happy Eid-el-Fitr celebration and pray that Almighty Allah accept our sacrifices in good deed.
Also in his message, Atiku’s running mate in the election, Mr Peter Obi charged Nigerians not to allow the prevailing hardship and mounting insecurity in the country to adversely affect their spirit of love, brotherliness and peaceful co-existence.
Rather, Obi said the people should use this year’s Eid-el-Fitri festivities to engender the spirit of oneness and also re-dedicate themselves to the virtues of love, patriotism and unity for the desired national development.
Tinubu urges prayer
And for former Lagos state governor and national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President Buhari deserved prayers from the citizens.
Congratulating the faithful upon completion of Ramadan fasting, Tinubu said: “The righteous acts and efforts of Ramadan must guide our actions and conduct going forward. Let us put politics aside and continue to pray to Almighty Allah for our country and all its people. Let us remember President Muhammadu Buhari and his government in our prayers that they may be given the requisite strength and wisdom to protect the nation, defeat the challenges that confront us and help establish Nigeria as a more prosperous and just land.
“Let us pray for our brave soldiers and security agents confronting insurgents and bandits. We must keep in close remembrance those whose lives have been lost to or impaired by either the violence of terrorism as well as to those who have been lost to or harmed by the global pandemic that is Covid-19. May we see an end to this disease and its consequences in no distant time.
“Not only must we pray for good things, we must also act in a better way. We must dedicate ourselves to performing the compassionate and benign things that lie within the power of each of us to do in order to give peace and improve the lives of the people around us. This is the true message and meaning of Ramadan and of Islam itself.”
While calling on Nigerians to build a better society free from want, violence and hatred, Tinubu said people must never condone and tolerate the works and words of those who would do evil or who would pit brother against brother, Nigerian against Nigerian.
“I join with Muslims in Nigeria and across the world in marking the faithful completion of this year’s Ramadan fast, one of the most critical pillars of Islam. As Muslims we have fasted and prayed in a special way during this holy month. We have sacrificed. This act of sacrifice in abstaining from food, drink and other worldly things from dawn to dusk, is not simply a ritual to be performed so that we may seem religious or pious to others.
“We abstain from these ordinary things to strengthen our patience, forbearance, perseverance and tolerance. We do so as a sign of complete devotion to and love for Allah and in total appreciation of His mercy toward us. In that an essential lesson that Ramadan teaches is love and compassion, we observe this holy month in order to bring more compassion and love unto this world and in our relations with all we meet, friends as well as strangers, fellow Muslims as well as those of other faiths or beliefs.
“Now that the holy month of Ramadan is ending, we must counsel ourselves not to forget its great lessons. We must be better than we were before. We must treat each other with more compassion and understanding,” the APC leader added.
In a related development, former Deputy President of the Senate Ike Ekweremadu has urged faithful to seize the occasion of the Eid-el-Fitr to pray for a nation in distress, saying Nigeria needed divine healing at this point of her history.
“I celebrate with the Muslim faithful on the occasion of this year’s Eid-el-Fitr and congratulate them on the successful completion of the Ramadan Fast.
“This is no doubt a very trying period for the nation. With the dire circumstances characterised by worsening insecurity, mindless killings, bourgeoning kidnap industry, economic hardship, and ethnic tension, there is no doubt that Nigeria is in distress.
“The times therefore call for both leadership and fervent prayers, knowing that we can always win if we shun ethnic, religious, and political differences to work and pray as one people”, he said.
Dahiru Bauchi speaks on Sallah
Meanwhile, renowned Islamic cleric, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi has spoken on reasons he joined some Muslims to hold Eid prayers Wednesday.
He directed that, following the non-sighting of the moon, fasting should hold Wednesday while the Eid prayers come up Thursday which is the first day of Shawwal.
But on the contrary, Sheikh Bauchi said the moon was sighted Tuesday in
Gombe, Gadau and Kebbi.
“Based on these reports that the moon was sighted, what is said by two righteous people when they see it is enough for us people, or a large crowd.
“That is why we have now come to perform the Eid prayers because the month of Ramadan is over, the month of Shawwal has arrived,” the cleric spoke at the prayer session held at his residence along Gombe road.
And amid the rising security challenges, the Acting Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba has ordered a nationwide deployment of police officers and other operational assets of the force for water-tight security ahead of the Eid-el-Fitr celebration and beyond.
A press statement Wednesday by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), CP Frank Mba in Abuja, said: “The IGP’s order was contained in a directive to Assistant Inspectors-General of Police (AIGs), Commissioners of Police (CPs) and other strategic commanders of the force as part of efforts by the Police leadership toward stabilising security, improving public safety and making the country a safer place for all citizens.
“The IGP, who noted that the nation’s security ecosystem is challenged, assured however that these challenges are not insurmountable.
“He reassured the citizens that the force under his new policing vision is already implementing new, improved, tailored-to-suit and robust security solutions aimed at tackling crimes and neutralising both existing and emerging security threats in the country.
“The IGP, while restating his belief that the nation will soon overcome its security challenges, further noted that the force is equally up calling its collaboration with the military and other law enforcement agencies in both intelligence sharing and other target-oriented missions and operations.
“He enjoined citizens to support the Police to stage a common front in tackling the challenges.”
The spokesperson further stated that, “In addition, the IGP reminded the citizens of the newly introduced Phase-4 National Response on COVID-19 Health Protection Regulation and called for voluntary compliance with the protocols.
“He equally directed Commissioners of Police in all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to ensure full enforcement of the protocols.
“He warned that Police officers deployed for such enforcement must do so with utmost professionalism, while exhibiting compassion, decorum and due respect for the fundamental rights of the citizens.”
He said the IGP, on behalf of the entire officers of the Nigeria Police Force, congratulated all Muslim faithful in the country as they join the Muslim Ummah across the globe to mark this year’s Eid-el-Fitr.