By Johnbosco Agbakwuru – Abuja
In compliance with the directives of Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19, President Muhammadu Buhari and members of his family on Sunday observed the Eid-el-Fitr prayer at the presidential quarters, Abuja.
This is as the President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, Comrade Samson Ugwoke enjoined Muslim faithful, to use the celebration to pray for world Peace, solution to COVID-19, end to insurgency and banditry in Nigeria and quick recovery of the economy.
Recall that President Buhari had on Friday, canceled the traditional Sallah homage on him by the Muslim faithful and residents of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
The President had also said that he would be conducting his Eid prayers with his family at home.
A statement issued the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, had explained that the decision was in obedience to the lockdown measures put in place by the FCT administration “to save lives and protect people from all dangers.”
It was also in line with the directive of the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III suspending Eid congregational prayers across the country as well as the protocol against mass gathering issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
Shehu had in the statement stated, “Further to this, the President who has traditionally shared the joyous moment with top government officials, political leaders, community heads, Muslim and Christian religious leaders and children, will not be receiving these homages in a bid to stop the coronavirus from further spreading.”
Speaking after the Eid prayers on Sunday, Buhari said, “Even as we mark the successful end of the Ramadan, and the commemoration of Eid-el-Fitr, we are doing so mindful of the times we are in.
“I held Eid prayers at home today, with my family, in keeping with the protocol of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 against mass gatherings, as well as the directive of the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, suspending Eid congregational prayers across the country.
“I urge all Muslims to continue to reflect on the lessons and virtues of this season, and sustain them beyond the celebrations. I wish you all Eid Mubarak.”
In his message, SSANU President, Comrade Ugwoke said the emergence of Covid-19 in Nigeria in February changed the political, economic and social dynamics of doing things not only in Nigeria but the whole world.
According to him, “It has affected our mode of worship, burial, meeting, shopping, celebration working and so on. Covid-19 for the first time in our lives brought about lockdown, a social restriction on the citizenry.
” In April, 2020,we celebrated Easter without the Easter traditions such as Carol of 9 lessons, visitations and the usual Easter Church Service.
“We thought that by this time in May, Covid-19 would have been history but that’s not to be. Here we’re with the disease spreading like wildfire through community transmission.
“Today is an important day in Muslim calendar, the Eid-el-Fitr celebration and Muslim faithful are almost in isolation. The occasion is devoid of the traditional fanfare associated with the season.
“However, our Muslim brothers and sisters must be happy for being alive to witness this year’s celebration bearing in mind that Nigeria lost over 200 persons to this deadly Covid-19 within a short period in three months.
“To our Muslim faithful, I enjoin you to pray for world Peace, solution to Covid-19, end to insurgency and banditry in Nigeria and quick recovery of the economy.
“SSANU Muslim members should use the occasion to pray for the success of our forthcoming National Delegates’ Conference and for a seamless transition to a new administration.”