As Muslims celebrated the Eid-el-Kabir by praying on various grounds across the country and sharing with the needy, the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and his vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, felicitated Muslim faithful on the celebrations.

Similarly governors, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Nasir El-Rufai; Kaduna State, and Muhammadu  Yahaya of Gombe State, Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State, and Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, rejoiced with Nigerians after the Eid-el Kabir prayers, urging them to emulate the values of Islam, to live with a sense of vigilance, and to continue to pray for the peace, unity, and prosperity of the country.

Other dignitaries who joined in the celebrations were the Emir of Ilorin, Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, a former governor of Niger State, Muazu Aliyu, and the All Progressives Congress Governorship candidate in the state Senator Uba Sani.

Buhari was in Daura on Saturday amidst tight security to offer prayers in commemoration of this year’s Eid-el-Kabir at the Kofar Arewa Eid Prayer ground at 9.53 am. The prayers were led by Imam Safiyanu Yusuf.

The Emir of Daura, Faruq Umar, said, “Our President is bold and courageous. He has done his best for the country. Nigeria and the Daura community have benefitted a lot from his hard work and benevolence. I urge us all to continue to pray for him and  his tenure.”

A symbolic slaughtering of ram was also performed at the prayer ground shortly after the prayers.

Buhari told journalists after the Eid-el Kabir prayers that his regime would ensure a good lease of life for all citizens of the country.

According to a statement by his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, Buhari stressed that Nigerians do not truly practice the teachings of their religion, thereby leading to contradictions that have led to lingering problems in the country.

“The exploitation of the people by traders and the stealing of public funds by civil servants and other holders of public trust is a reflection of the abandonment of the teachings of our religions,” Buhari said.

“Our society is a bundle of contradictions. People display external religiosity without fear of God; they make life difficult for others; money becomes their god; leaders abandon their oaths of office by taking money meant for the welfare of the people and diverting it to their private pockets.

“Religion should not just be used as a mere badge of identity, but as a motivator for doing good for our country and humanity.”

On the current security challenges and costs of living in the country, he assured Nigerians that “I won’t rest until I bring relief to Nigerians,” adding that “I am quite aware of the difficulties people are facing and working to resolve them”.

Governor Aminu Masari and the Emir of Katsina, Dr Abdulmumin Usman, also joined other Muslim faithful in Katsina on Saturday to celebrate Sallah.

On his part, Osinbajo urged Muslims to renew their commitment to the nation while celebrating Sallah.

Osinbajo, in his statement, said “In this season, may the bonds of friendship, charity, the chords of love, service, and commitment to our country be renewed and strengthened amongst all Nigerians.”

Meanwhile, Akeredolu has called on Nigerians to unite in the fight against all kinds of terrorists in the country. While congratulating the Muslim faithful in Ondo State and the country at large, he called on citizens to support the government at all levels to help defeat arsonists in the country.

Akeredolu said, “On our part, we shall continue to prioritise the security of lives and property of our people. We have seen the need to redouble our efforts. We have put in place necessary security measures to further deepen our efforts to make the state safe. No human life will be cheapened under our watch.

“We call on all our mosques to install, use and maintain CCTV devices and other secret cameras in their premises as well as employ well-trained security personnel to man the entry and exit points to their premises.”

He stressed that security agencies, especially Western Nigeria Security Network, also known as Amotekun, should be given all the necessary support to perform that duties.

In Ilorin, the Kwara State capital,  AbdulRazaq told journalists, “As long as we have peace, our country will prosper and progress. We should all work for peace always.”

The prayer was led by the Chief Imam, Mohammed Bashir, who urged the worshippers to embrace sacrifice and take good care of the needy in society. He urged those blessed to afford rams for the festival to share with the needy and those who were not able to do so.

Prominent people at the praying ground apart from the governor included former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former PDP National Chairman, Kawu Baraje; Alhaji Mustapha Saliu, Turaki of Ilorin, Dr Alimi Abdulrazaq and a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Alfa Belgore, amongst others.

Also at the Eid ground was the Emir of Ilorin, Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, whereas accompanied by a retinue of royal chiefs.  Sulu Gambari, in his statement by his spokesperson, Abdulazeez Arowona, charged the Muslim faithful to sustain their religious obligations of living in peace and harmony with their residents and to “remain vigilant at all times”.

In Delta, Okowa, who is also the vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, charged Nigerians to renew their hope for a greater country despite the rising insecurity.

In a statement by his spokesperson, Olisa Ifeajika, on Saturday, Okowa said, “This year’s Eid-el-Kabir celebration holding amid rising insecurity and economic challenges calls for deep introspection among citizens, especially for its cost in terms of the enormity of lives and property being lost almost daily across the country.

“However, I wish to state that Nigeria will return to the path of recovery and greatness sooner than later, given the resolve by well-meaning citizens.”

Okowa called on Nigerians to embrace peaceful co-existence exemplified in genuine brotherliness and turn to God for forgiveness to kindle the healing of the land of multi-faceted ills confronting it.

Meanwhile, Aliyu has called on Islamic clerics to focus on preaching peace and unity rather than focusing on heaven and hell.

In his statement after the Eid prayers on Saturday, the governor said, “I hope that our mallams will preach about the way we live as a community, not talking about paradise and fire, and co all the time. Tell us how to live in peace in our communities and that will lead us to the right place” he said.

El-Rufai, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye, he said, “In these difficult times, let us be buoyed by faith and retain the hope that together we can make things better. Let us embrace the lesson of sacrifice and uphold peace and goodwill towards all’’.

Similarly, Sani, who is the current senator representing Kaduna Central, urged Nigerians not to stay aloof but to exhibit the much-needed values of patience and sacrifice to make progress as a country.

“We have been going through a debilitating crisis and huge challenges that test the will of the human person. But we are still trudging along, keeping hope alive, and utilising available opportunities to better our lives.

“As you are aware, I have put myself forward for the office of the Governor of Kaduna State. I want to serve our people and take the state to higher heights. I seek the support of all men and women of goodwill. Let us work together to effectively and efficiently deliver services to our people and safeguard their lives and livelihoods. It is a duty we owe our state and our people,” he said.

Meanwhile, Yahaya urged Muslims to imbibe the spirit of love, and sacrifice, adding that they are answers to insecurity and socio-economic issues.

In a statement by his Director-General, Press Affairs, Ismaila Misilli, the Gombe State Governor said, “Although the nation is currently grappling with a myriad of socio-economic challenges which are stagnating her process of development, such should not distract us from learning the good lessons of the Eid-el-Kabir festival which teaches compassion, selfishness, love, and obedience to the commands of Almighty Allah.”

Speaking on the 2023 general elections, Yahaya reminded the people of the state to take advantage of the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration exercise by the Independent National Electoral Commission to obtain their PVCs, to be eligible to exercise their rights to elect credible leaders.

In Adamawa, Fintiri called on residents to rededicate themselves to making the state a model of peace and harmonious living in the spirit of the celebration.

In a statement by his press secretary, Humwashi Wonosikou, in Yola, he said, “Allah implores us all as leaders and followers in our different stations in life to continue to hold on steadfastly to the tenets of hope, sacrifice, and restoration as epitomised in the central message of Eid-el-Kabir.”

Meanwhile, Ganduje, granted pardon and released various categories of inmates across Kano. In the spirit of the Eid-el-Fitr, Ganduje paid various fines, including the payment of compensation for 77 inmates in the various custodial centers, while releasing 10 inmates on death row. He also facilitated the commuting of three IDR to life imprisonment, among whom is a female inmate.

This was disclosed in a press statement by the Corrections Public Relations Officer, Kano Command, DSC Musbahu Nassarawa, on Saturday.  Nassarawa assured residents that the released inmates had turned a new leaf and had expressed remorse for their crimes.

The statement revealed that Ganduje gave the sum of N5,000 as transport fare to each of the released inmates. Musbahu added that he also donated bulls, rams, and bags of rice to various organisations to mark the Sallah celebration.

Earlier, the Controller of Corrections, Kano State Command, Sulaiman Inuwa, had welcomed the Governor on behalf of the Controller-General of Corrections, Haliru Nababa. Inuwa thanked the Governor for his relentless support to the Command, he also commended him for making it a tradition to visit the centre to celebrate with inmates.

“Beware of COVID-19”

The Ekiti State Government has advised residents to be mindful of their associations and movements during Eid-el Kabir celebrations to guard against the spread of COVID-19.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Oyebanji Filani, said the disease was still around, he advised that “All residents of Ekiti State are advised to be mindful of their associations and movements during this period”. She also added that the state deployed 80 mobile teams across all local government areas in the state, and ensured that the primary health centres remained accessible during the celebration.

Filani, in a statement, stressed that “The Ministry of Health will continue its surveillance activities to ensure quick detection and mitigation of the spread of COVID-19”.She urged residents to be vaccinated against the pandemic.

“Don’t campaign now”

The Gombe State Police Commissioner, Ishola Babaita, has warned residents about playing politics around prayer and Sallah celebration places, adding that the command would not accept acts capable of deteriorating the fragile peace of the state.

The Command also reaffirmed its commitment to protecting the lives and property of the citizens by emplacing robust crime prevention measures before, during, and after the celebration.

Babaita, in a statement by his Public Relations Officer, Mahid Abubakar, said “It is necessary to once again call on politicians in the State to adhere to INEC timetable on the schedule of activities for the 2023 General Election and avoid any form of Political campaigns or rallies under any guise at Eid praying grounds.

“The Commissioner of Police will like to use this medium to warn all criminally minded individuals or groups to steer clear from Gombe State, and further advise people to be conscious of their security and report any suspicious person(s).”

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