Muslims in Ebonyi on Monday commended the government for its continued sponsorship of its members for Hajj. The Muslim faithful gave the commendation in a Sallah message signed by their leader, Dr Muhammad Ajah, and read by Malam Ibrahim Obiahu during a courtesy visit to Gov. David Umahi in Abakaliki.
Ajah noted in the message that Ebonyi is the only state in the South-East Zone that has sustained such religious goodwill. “We are happy over your assurance of continued sponsorship though we regret the reduction of seats for the holy pilgrimage. “The number of seats used to be 50, but now reduced to 20 and we are afraid it could drop further.
“Although we are aware that this sharp reduction was caused by the current economic downturn in the country, we want the slot increased if the situation also improves. He also requested that Muslim faithful in the state be considered for political offices as no Muslim had benefited since the creation of the state in 1996.
On the Eid el-Kabir festival, Ajah said that it was in remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s obedience to God’s instruction to sacrifice his son. “The Patriarch and his family is the foundation of both the Christian and Islamic faiths, hence this celebration of the feast of sacrifice is significant to both faiths.
“This cohesive and adhesive bond that binds us deserves to be positively exploited and regularly greased to foster unity and brotherhood ties between Christian and Muslims. “Allah prohibits the wanton destruction of lives and properties in whatever guise in Islam and Christianity and anyone who is involved in such crime is considered ungodly by both faiths.’’
Meanwhile, Ajah appealed to the state government accord the state chapter of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) the same recognition given to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the state.
“We equally urge the administration to demonstrate practical commitment to an all inclusive government that represents the diversity of the state.” The governor, represented by the state Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Mr Augustine Nwankwagu, congratulated Muslims on the occasion and urged them to pray for the state and the country.
“You should pray for enhanced peace, security and unity of Ebonyi and Nigeria because this is a season of love and sacrifice.” Umahi said that the administration was determined to create an environment for equality, justice and peace. He said the administration was also committed to supporting Muslim faithful in the state in spite of the numerous economic challenges confronting it.
The governor, however, urged group to canvass and pray for the restoration of lost values which placed premium on human life, love, and peaceful co-existence. “This period requires much patience, fortitude, endurance, and patriotism for the country; you should replicate the lesson beyond this period by forgiving those who may have offended you,” the governor said.