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It’s Time for Sober Reflection, Not Celebration, Says Buhari

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Muhammadu Buhari
  • Says pandemic has taken heavy toll on people’s spiritual, social, economic lives
  • Reassures lockdown won’t go on longer than necessary
  • Lawan, Gbajabiamila, Omo-Agege, Atiku, Saraki, Govs, others felicitate with Muslims
  • NCDC confirms 265 new cases, tally now 7526, discharges 2174, death 221


Our Correspondents

Amid the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed thousands of lives worldwide, crippled businesses, and caused massive disruption to daily living, including religious worship, with the closure of mosques and churches, the Islamic faithful will quietly offer prayers and supplications today to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-fitr. Also called the “Festival of Breaking the Fast”, Eid-el-fitr marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting in the holy month of Ramadan.

Today’s celebration would be devoid of the fanfare, fellowship, and ceremonial visits usually associated with Eid-el-fitr. This is due to the social/physical distancing and other containment measures introduced by governments to tackle the spread of the coronavirus.

It was against this new normal that President Muhammadu Buhari, Saturday, called on Muslims across the country to see this year’s Eid event as “an occasion for sober reflection rather than celebration because of the long shadows of gloom that the coronavirus has cast on people’s lives.”

Also yesterday, NCDC announce 265 new cases raising the tally to 7526 with 2174 discharges and 221 deaths so far.
Lagos as usual top the tally with 133, followed by Oyo with 34, Edo 28, Ogun 23, FCT 22, amongst others.
In his Eid-el-fitr message signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari admitted that the COVID-19 challenge had taken a huge toll on people’s spiritual, social and economic lives. He assured Nigerians that the current lockdown would not be longer than necessary.

Equally in the spirit of the season, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila, Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Senate President Bukola Saraki, and other prominent Nigerians felicitated with Muslims all over the country for the completion of the Ramadan fasting period. They urged the citizens to continue to pray for the country as it battles the challenge of COVID-19.

Buhari told Muslims to keep their spirits up in spite of the coronavirus pandemic. He said the virus, “which caught the world off-guard, has put a damper on what would otherwise have been a time of celebration for the Muslim faithful to mark the end of the Ramadan fasting period.”

The president said, “For the first time in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the people’s spiritual, social and economic lives.” He added, “This year’s fasting period was particularly challenging for Muslims, because they had to forgo many important aspects of their daily worship, including the routine congregations for prayer and the recitation and interpretation of the Holy Qur’an as well as traveling for the lesser pilgrimage to Makkah.
“It is not easy to give up many of these important duties and activities, but it became imperative to do so in order to control or limit the spread of this deadly disease. Let me use this opportunity to commend the sacrifices of both Muslims and Christians for their cooperation in the enforcement of the social distancing guidelines.

“I am well aware of the inconveniences these tough measures have brought on the lives of Nigerians, including limiting religious activities and gatherings in large numbers.” The president said, “No government would intentionally impose these tough and demanding measures on its citizens if it had a choice.”

The president appreciated Nigerians “whose businesses and means of livelihood were badly affected by the prolonged lockdown measures for their understanding and cooperation.” He assured that the lockdown measures would not go on longer than necessary, saying they would be reviewed from time to time to ease the hardship on the people.

While exhorting people with means to help their neighbours and those in need “so that we can all come out of this pandemic stronger and more united,” Buhari told the Muslim faithful, “This year’s Eid event is an occasion for sober reflection rather than celebration because of the long shadows of gloom that the coronavirus has cast on people’s lives.”
He prayed Allah to ease the hardship among the people as they struggle to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections. He wished all Nigerians “Eid Mubarak.”

Felicitating with Nigerians and, in particular, the Muslim Ummah, President of the Senate, Lawan, enjoined all to continue to observe the health precautions and sustain the acts of purity, charity, perseverance and tolerance in their daily lives and general conduct.

He said, “We should also continue to pray for Nigeria, our dear country, for God’s intervention against all the challenges that confront our nation and our world. I assure you on behalf of my colleagues that the National Assembly will continue to provide the initiatives and responses expected of a responsible legislature in a vibrant democracy and as an arm of a caring government.

“I wish to specially commend all our healthcare and other essential services providers, who are at the front line of the fight against COVID-19 and assure them of full support of their lawmakers and representatives for victory against the vicious enemy.”

Gbajabiamila also congratulated Nigerian Muslims on the successful conclusion of this year’s Ramadan fast and marking of a peaceful Eid-el-Fitr. He urged them to pray for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gbajabiamila’s message was contained in a statement issued on Saturday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi. He urged Muslims to imbibe virtues, such as feeding the needy, being their brother’s keepers, and praying for peaceful coexistence that usually came with the month of Ramadan.

Gbajabiamila stated, “I bring to Nigerian Muslims warm greetings at this season of Eid-el-Fitr. It is a season of remembrance of the good things that the Almighty Allah has done in our lives.

“Unfortunately, this year’s Eid-el-Fitr will be celebrated low-key, not for our own making, but that is how our Creator wills it. That is why we all must return to Him in prayers to bring an end to this COVID-19 pandemic.

“I enjoin every Nigerian Muslim to be of good character and remain the best of examples, taking after the Holy Prophet (SAW). Let’s also pray for an end to insecurity and other challenges that we face as a nation.”

Omo-Agege, while calling on Nigerians to be fervent in prayers for a quick end to the COVID-19 pandemic, also sued for prayers for the country to overcome its other challenges.

The deputy senate president said, “I join all Muslims in praying that the world will recover from the prevailing pandemic, that the wounds of division become healed in Nigeria and that all citizens can enjoy the realisation of the Buhari administration’s goal of attaining better standards of living.”

Former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu urged the Muslim Ummah not to relent in their prayers against COVID-19. Ekweremadu enjoined Muslims to continue in the virtues of love, forgiveness, and unity imbibed during the Ramadan fast.
In the message by his media adviser, Uche Anichukwu, the former deputy senate president stated, “I felicitate with our Muslim brothers and sisters on this occasion of Eid-Fitr. It is, however, important to note that this will be an unusual Sallah without the normal fanfare and exchange of goodwill visits across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I, therefore, enjoin the Muslim Ummah to celebrate safely, bearing in mind that this pandemic will pass and there will be more Sallah celebrations ahead.”

The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives also congratulated Nigerians on the successful completion of the Ramadan fast and called on Muslims to use the Eid-el-fitr celebration to activate the much-needed national rebirth.
The Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, in a statement, urged Nigerians to ensure that they adhere strictly to all health and safety protocols on COVID-19 as they observe the Eid-el-fitr.

Elumelu stated, “As a nation, we must use this period for deep introspection and rekindle the virtues of forgiveness, tolerance, love for one another and commitment to the stability and progress of our dear nation and humanity at large.”
Atiku said the time called for sacrifice for national development. He stated, “This time calls for sacrifice in leadership. This is no time for extravagance and living in luxury.

“I wish all Nigerian Muslims and their counterparts across the world a more special celebration, filled with pleasant moments as we pray together and enjoy the day with our families. Just as it was a Ramadan like none other, the Eid-il-fitr celebrations marking the end of the fasting this year too would be epochal.

“I am sure there would be very few Muslims alive today – if any – who had witnessed a Ramadan fasting like the one we just had, and Eid celebration such as we would have this year without the mandatory congressional prayers.”

Sanwo-Olu Urges Muslims to Continue on Path of Spirituality, Peaceful Coexistence

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, urged Muslims to continue to demonstrate the virtues of peaceful coexistence imbibed during the month-long fasting preceding Eid-el-Fitri.

In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, Sanwo-Olu, said Eid-el-Fitri was significant as it marked the end of the month of abstinence from worldly pleasures with fasting and prayers.

The governor said, “Today, I join millions of people around the world, to wish our Muslim brothers and sisters in Lagos State and in Nigeria happy Eid-el-fitri. For Muslims, today’s celebration is very unique. It is a feast to mark the end of a month-long spiritual renewal following 30 days of fasting and other religious acts.

“Ramadan was a period that you denied yourselves the worldly pleasures, turned to your Creator for total cleansing, and upheld other religious values. Such values as the reaffirmation of your duty to serve one another, helping the poor and the vulnerable in the society, offering gratitude, showing compassion and generosity among other good deeds that guide your faith.

“As Muslims celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Fitri, we must remind ourselves of the need to further reflect spiritually and build communally.”

He added, “As we celebrate, I want us to remember that our fight against the COVID-19 is not over.
“Let us reflect on the last two to three months of our lives as individuals, as a state and as a nation. We should also remember our health care workers, and thousands of COVID-19 patients who would have loved to be at home to celebrate with us at this moment.”

Ugwuanyi calls for Prayers, Abiding Faith in God

Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi charged Muslims and, indeed, all Nigerians to remain resolute in their abiding faith in God, through prayers and sacrifice, as the country battles COVID-19. Ugwuanyi congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari and other Muslim faithful on the successful completion of Ramadan. He said the religious exercise was a great boost to the country’s war against COVID-19 as well as efforts to sustain peace, unity and progress of the country.

Ugwuanyi stated, “This is an unusual time, not only for us as a people but for the entire humanity and the world. I, therefore, urge that we remain committed to the core values that strengthen the bond that brought us together as a prosperous nation, as we fight back in solidarity and in determined effort to contain this COVID-19 pandemic.”

Sule Calls for Enduring Ramadan Virtues

Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule implored Muslims to remain steadfast in the virtues of Ramadan through sustained supplication, hospitality, and good neighbourliness. In his Eid-el-fitr message to the Muslim faithful in the state, Sule said, “All good citizens of Nasarawa State should continue to pray for the peace, security and economic prosperity of the state. Let me re-echo my call to the people of Nasarawa State to be law abiding and live peacefully with one another.
“Government will not condone any acts capable of breaching the existing peace prevailing in our society and will deal decisively with any individual(s) or groups, whose stock in trade is to perpetuate crime, criminality and fan embers of disunity among the diverse ethnic nationalities in the state.”

Wamakko Says Nigerians Should Continue in Prayers

Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence and former Sokoto State Governor, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, advised Nigerians to continue to prayer for God’s divine intervention in the coronavirus plague. Wamakko, who represents Sokoto North Senatorial District, spoke on Friday night at his country home, Gidan Kara, in Wamakko Local Government Area, during the 21st Annual End of Ramadan Breakfast.
He said, “As pious and faithful Muslims, we have the unshakable belief that, whatever happens to us – good or bad – comes from the Almighty Allah. We can never shy away or dodge from what has been divinely predestined for us by the Almigthy God.
“But, it can be lessened with sustained sincere prayers. May the Almighty Allah accept our prayers and forgive us all our sins as fallible mortals, as well as save us from this pandemic.”

Uzodimma Commends Muslims

Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma felicitated with the Muslim faithful on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr and commended them for dedication, resilience, and personal sacrifice. In a message by his media aide, Oguwike Nwachuku, on Saturday, Uzodimma said God had been merciful to Nigeria and Nigerians and advised the Muslim faithful to remain steadfast in their prayer for a united, peaceful and prosperous country.

He said this year’s Eid-el-Fitr festval, which seemed “marred” by COVID-19, had provided an opportunity for the Muslim faithful to reflect deeply on the awesomeness of God in the face of predicament and the need for mankind to subject themselves to the sovereignty of the Almighty God.
He advised the Muslim faithful to use this period of Eid-el-Fitr to remember the vulnerable, weak, and needy and show them love. The governor encouraged Muslims to continue to pray for Nigerian leaders to be God-fearing and work in the interest of the society.

Ekiti Obas, Senator Canvass Value Reorientation, Religious Tolerance

The Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers and the Senator for Ekiti Central Senatorial District, Opeyemi Bamidele, congratulated Muslims on a peaceful fasting period. They sued for value reorientation and tolerance as part of the lessons of Ramadan.
They also admonished Muslims to take cognisance of the peculiarity of this year’s celebration by observing all the laid down guidelines by government in the current fight against COVID-19.

In a statement by the council’s chairman and Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Ajibade Alabi, on Saturday, the monarchs stressed that all religious leaders must work in tandem with government in the fight against the deadly coronavirus.
The Oba stated, “All Nigerians must continue to cooperate with government to stop the spread of the pandemic. We praise the stout leadership of the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in leading the war against the spread of COVID-19 both as Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum.”

Bamidele, who is Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, enjoined Nigerians to embrace value reorientation, personal and collective rebranding, for radical transformation of the country from its present state. He said, “Time has come for us to collectively rout the cankerworm of corruption that has become a widespread culture stifling the economy and asphyxiating less privileged citizens.

“That this year’s Ramadan coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the globe was divine. It signposted that God, despite our iniquities, still offered us the opportunity to seek His face during this harrowing times.”

Fintiri Asks for Prayers to End COVID-19 Pandemic

Adamawa State Governor Ahmadu Fintiri felicitated with the Muslim Ummah for yet another Eid-el-Fitr celebration. In a release by his press secretary, Mr Humwashi Wonosikou, on Saturday, Fintiri urged Muslims to pray for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic so that life could return to normal.

“In this trying times of the novel coronavirus pandemic, everyone is also admonished to cooperate with the front-liners by observing the necessary protocols and contributing their quota in helping to save lives,” he said.

Yahaya Urges Sustenance of Ramadan Lessons

Gombe State Governor, Alhaji Muhammadu Yahaya, advised Muslims to sustain the lessons of the holy month of Ramadan and replicate them in their daily lives for the good of the society. In a goodwill message Saturday, Yahaya said, “Eid el-fitr festival connotes sacrifice, selflessness, love and obedience to the tenets of Islam. I, therefore, enjoin us to draw enduring lessons from the Ramadan and show love to one another as well as promote harmony and peaceful coexistence among our diverse people.

“The same way we all remembered the less privileged and those afflicted by poverty and disease during Ramadan, I implore us to carry over these attributes beyond Ramadan. I also enjoin you to continue to complement government efforts in confronting the dreaded COVID-19, by observing all the preventive protocols and complying with restriction orders, while assuring you of our resolve to continue to adopt measures and strategies to curb the spread of the pandemic in the state.”

Makinde Calls for Prayers for Oyo, Nigeria

Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde congratulated Muslims in the state and beyond on the successful completion of Ramadan and urged them to use the occasion of Eid-el-Fitri to pray for themselves, the state, and Nigeria. In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, Makinde said it was regrettable that Muslims in the state and across the country could not observe Eid-el-Fitri prayer at the Eid Praying Grounds, due to restrictions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor asked Muslims to see the situation as “part of the sacrifice we all have to make at this time,” adding, “It is gratifying to note that we are concluding this year’s Ramadan on a good note. Despite the current COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the whole world, the Almighty Allah allowed Muslims in Oyo State to join the Muslim Ummah in making supplications for the forgiveness of our sins.

“I remain grateful to my Muslim brothers and sisters and residents of the state for remaining steadfast despite the situation imposed on us by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

APC Urges Nigerians to Imbibe Ramadan Lessons

The All Progressives Congress (APC) congratulated Muslims on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitri, and urged them to imbibe the lessons of the holy month. National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in a statement Saturday, said at this critical period in the country’s history, the noble virtues of Ramadan should continue to guide everyone, as they stay safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Issa-Onilu said, “As we complete this important religious obligation, we join the Nigerian Muslim community in beseeching Allah to accede to all their prayers and accept their fasting as an act of worship. It is our hope that the important lessons of Ramadan, including personal sacrifice, charity, sobriety and self-discipline, would not cease to be part of our ways of life in the months and years ahead.

“In our continuous efforts to stem the spread of this virus, the APC urges all Nigerians to adhere to public health guidelines and instructions, including safe distancing, use of facemasks at public places, among others.”

Obaseki Advises Muslims to Promote a Life of Sacrifice

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, felicitated with the Muslim faithful on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr and urged them to continue to promote a life of sacrifice, charity and love for one another.

Obaseki stated, “On behalf of the government and people of Edo State, I felicitate with our Muslim faithful on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr after the completion of the Ramadan fast, a major pillar of Islam. It is impressive that the Ramadan fast was observed most devotedly amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the relevant government regulations observed by the Muslim faithful in the state.

“The holy month of Ramadan is an opportunity for our Muslim brothers and sisters to deepen their relationship with Allah, promote a life of sacrifice, charity and love for one another. There is no better time to show love and togetherness than now when we are joining forces in battling a common enemy. This is why it is remarkable that the bond among our people grew amid these very difficult times.”

Noting that his administration was committed to promotion of peaceful coexistence in the state, Obaseki said, “I urge all Muslims in Edo State to sustain these values even after the holy month to build a prosperous and peaceful Edo State, where everyone can actualise their dreams.”

Meanwhile, with the rise in number of confirmed cases of coronavirus carriers in Edo State, the state government increased the Active Case Search (ACS) activities in over 542 rural and urban communities across the state, testing 1,367 residents and contact tracing over 933 others.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Patrick Okundia, who disclosed this to journalists in Benin City, reassured that the Obaseki administration had ramped up measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

The commissioner noted that the state was making steady progress in the management of the pandemic, adding that Edo has recorded successes in surveillance activities, including contact tracing, Persons of Interest (POI) tracking and active case search in the state’s 18 local government councils

Abiodun Greets Muslims, Urges Compliance with anti-COVID-19 Measures

Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun sent a message of solidarity to Muslims, urging all citizens to keep faith and rededicate themselves to efforts to find solution to the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, Abiodun advised Nigerians against reckless claims and non-compliance that could aggravate the pandemic. He advised the citizens to live in peace with one another.

The statement said, “Governor Dapo Abiodun is immensely grateful to God for His mercy in guiding us through the difficult period of coronavirus and for us to successfully conclude another Ramadan fast.

“The governor applauds the resilience, understanding and patriotic zeal of all Nigerian Muslims and Christians on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr. He expresses joy that more people are recovering from the pandemic as we abide by the medical protocol of physical distancing, testing, wearing of facemasks and all other measures, including the curfew and lockdown rules.”

Saraki Wants Ramadan Values Sustained

Former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, congratulated Nigerian Muslims on the successful completion of this year’s Ramadan fasting and urged them to sustain the good values they imbibed during the holy month. In a statement by his media adviser, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki noted that the holy month taught the faithful piety, self-denial, good neighbourliness, discipline, empathy and making provision for the less privileged in the society. He said those values, if sustained and permanently imbibed by Muslims, would help to build a great country for the benefit of all.

Saraki said, “This last Ramadan was unique in that we observed it without all the normal gathering for Iftar, tarawih prayers, listening to tafsir and going for lesser hajj. Also, as advised by both health and religious authorities, there would be no gathering for Eid prayers. We all must therefore cooperate and work together to eliminate this pandemic and restore good health to our society.

“I enjoin all Nigerians to use this period of the Eid-el-Fitri to rededicate ourselves to our country, pray for good health and a stronger economy that can withstand the post COVID-19 socio-economic challenges. We should comply with all safety rules and health advisories being issued by relevant authorities.”

Labour Preaches Harmony, Opposes FG’s Borrowing from China

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) advocated peaceful coexistence by people of all tribes and religions, but said it was against the federal government’s loans from China. In its goodwill message to mark Eid-el-fitr, on Saturday, signed by TUC President, Quadri Olaleye, and Secretary-General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, the union said Nigerians must be ready to show love to one another now more than ever before and maintain peace, a corruption-free society, and love one another, irrespective of religious affinities, to forge ahead.

TUC urged the federal government and other tiers of government to rise up to the task of rebuilding the economy, and dealing with tribalism, nepotism, corruption and religious intolerance that plagued the country before now.

The statement said, “We wish to state here that we are against getting loans from China. Some African countries have rejected their loan offers, because of the conditionalities attached, why is ours different? We must be circumspect.”
On its part, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said the Ramadan season reminded Nigerians of the need for discipline, diligence, love and sharing. In a goodwill message issued on Saturday, NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said the people should use the period to make an objective assessment of their areas of strength and weakness with a view to amending their ways.

Wabba said, “Eid-el-fitr is a very significant event in the life of every Muslim, chiefly, because of the virtues it exemplifies. Eid-el-fitr teaches denial, dedication, discipline, diligence, love and sharing. Eid-el-fitr is also a time of stock taking as Muslims use the period of the Ramadan fasting to take an objective assessment of their areas of strength and weakness.

“The strengths are consolidated while the weaknesses are strengthened. Eid-el-fitr reinforces the lessons of COVID-19. The need to love and to share has never been as profoundly communicated as during the current global fight against COVID-19.”

AbdulRazaq, Bolarinwa Greet Muslims at Eid-fitr

Kwara State Governor, Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, called on Muslims to observe their Eid prayers at home, as the ban on large social and religious gatherings was still in place, in order to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

AbdulRazaq felicitated with the Muslim community over the completion of the Ramadan fast, praying God to reward and grant the supplications of the faithful.

The governor’s message was contained in a statement issued in Ilorin on Saturday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Rafiu Ajakaye, to mark the celebration of Eid-Fitr celebrations in the state.

“We congratulate our Muslim brethren on the successful completion of Ramadan fasting, and pray the Almighty Allah to accept it as an act of worship, forgive our excesses, grant all our supplications during and after the holy month, and gift us long life and good health to observe several Ramadan in the best state of faith in God,” the governor said.
In the same spirit, the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, called on the Muslim Ummah to continue to abide with the state government on social distancing as they mark Eid-Fitr. A statement by the APC state chairman, Hon. Bashir Bolarinwa, urged Muslims to remain steadfast in prayers and imbibe the virtues of piety, patience, fortitude and godliness in their daily lives.

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