As Lagos Chief Imam seeks fervent prayers for Nigeria
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
In what could have turned into Sallah tragedy, as Muslims in Lagos joined the rest of the world to celebrate 2020 Eid-el- Kabir, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has narrated how he intercepted and saved a man who was about to plunge into the lagoon from Third Mainland Bridge over N500,000 debt.
Meanwhile, the State Chief Imam of Lagos, Sheikh Sulaimon Abou-Nolla speaking after the symbolic Eid-el Kabir, prayers held at the Lagos Central Mosque, called on Nigerians, especially Muslims to pray to God and the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world.
Sanwo-Olu, along with his wife, Ibijoke, had on Friday during a visit to the Lagos Island Maternity Hospital, Broad Street and some other hospitals in different parts of the State, to celebrate Eid-el-Kabir with in-patients and health practitioners urged Nigerians to “calm down,” in the face of several challenges.
Speaking to newsmen during the visit and commenting on a recent viral video of a boy begging his mother to calm down while punishing him for an offense he committed, Governor Sanwo-Olu said he believes strongly in paying attention and creating time to little things because there might be somebody somewhere who needs help.
He said: “You look at big things but you need to certainly create time for little things as well. That is the difference. You know, you are going to build a bridge and it is nice but you have somebody who is just somewhere who needs help.
“Just this morning (Friday), we rescued somebody who was planning to jump at the Third Mainland Bridge all because he said he has a debt of N500,000. We had to rescue him and we paid the debt. Those little details are what make the difference.
“I don’t have two heads, I don’t have 15 fingers. We are still the same human beings. So, we need to show the human part of us while we are not losing sight of the big picture.
“The big picture is that we want to build roads, bridges, and new schools. But we also need to pay attention to the little one like the young boy on that video. By the way, I have spoken to him and his mother. They are doing great and I will see him one of these days very soon.”
The Governor and his wife while at the various hospitals chatted with the patients and the medical personnel, cheering them up, encouraging them, and also prayed for their recovery.
Speaking to newsmen, Sanwo-Olu said his unscheduled visit to the hospital was to share Eid-el-Kabir moments with those in the hospital at a time when every other person is in a joyous mood at home.
“It is really about the season. So, if you reflect, Eid-el-Kabir is about the season of love. It is about the season of remembering one another. So people are remembering Prophet Ibrahim; he slaughtered ram, which showed it is a season of giving.
“There are people on two sides, the medical officers on the frontline that are meant to be at work but more importantly are patients who for one reason or the other, cannot be with their loved ones,” he said.
Justifying his decision to pay the unscheduled visit, Sanwo-Olu said: “I felt that this is the best place to come and show love; not just to see them but to encourage them and to give them little support from myself and my government.
“Coming here, we would also see things around ourselves. It is an unscheduled visit. So, we didn’t prompt anything. I saw them in their natural habit. You can see so many doctors and nurses are on duty and patients are also happy.
“We have also seen several patients; mothers that gave birth overnight to fresh newborn babies. So, it is just a season to come and thank God for them and their lives and for their families who are not here. For me, that is the most important thing.
“We all have to stay calm. It is a period we all need to understand that we need to stay calm and know that the government cares. We might not be ‘A Star’ but we have a good conscience. We have a good heart to do something good for almost everybody. I just want my citizens to see that if we have more resources, we will do a lot for them. This is just a simple way of saying thank you to everyone.”
Abou-Nolla at the Eid prayers urged Nigerians to continue to pray to God Almighty for protection and to heal the land of the pandemic.
The Chief Imam, said: “Compliance with the directives of the state government and other relevant agencies is the best strategy to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
“We equally enjoin all Muslims, that this is the time for us to pray to Allah, for Allah to help us resolve this COVID-19, for Allah to heal our land and for Allah to protect us.
“Those that we have lost during this period too, we pray Allah to forgive their sins, we pray Allah to accept them as part of people of Jannah.
“We equally advise all Muslims that we need to follow the guidelines. It is important for us as Muslims, in which Allah commanded us that we need to follow Allah, follow the prophet, and follow those in authority.
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“Whatever guidelines they give to us in respect of handwashing, social distancing, sanitising our hands, we need to follow the guidelines.
“We need to be disciplined as people, that what can guide us as a nation, we need to be able to sacrifice, then sacrifice for the nation. There is no success without sacrifice, so we need to sacrifice for our nation.”
Abou-Nolla also charged Muslim faithful to emulate Prophet Ibrahim by fulfilling their promises and be faithful to God Almighty.
He added: “We need to give thanks to Allah for saving us especially in this mist of this pandemic, that is the COVID-19 virus, which is ravaging all over the world. We thank Allah for sparing our lives.”
The cleric also prayed for the leaders in the state, especially the state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Deputy, Dr. Femi Hamzat, and his entire cabinet who had been at the forefront of the pandemic, to continue to guide and protect them.
Abou Nolla, however, appealed to residents to continue to comply with the stipulated guidelines, along with other standard hygienic practices such as regular hand washing and sanitizing, which would greatly help to curtail the spread of the virus.