Nigerian Muslims yesterday joined their counterparts worldwide to end the one-month Ramadan fast and observed a peaceful Eid-el-Fitr celebration across the country.
The Muslim holy month which commenced on May 5 ended yesterday with hitch-free celebrations as security agencies and para-military organisations mounted sentry in Eid praying grounds and other public places
The faithful thanked Allah for seeing them through the entire spiritual exercise and prayed for peace in Nigeria. They also prayed for the country’s leaders so that they can deliver on their electoral promises.
The Eid-el-Fitr celebration was generally peaceful in states in the North East zone where the residents had been grappling with security challenges arising from Boko Haram innsurgency.
In Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Borno, Yobe and neighbouring Jigawa, the festivities took place without any ugly incident.
The authorities in Borno and Yobe States had taken proactive measures by restricting vehicular movement to ensure that there was no breach of the peace.
Security operatives were also drafted in strategic areas in all the states to ensure safety of life and property.
Consequently, thousands of Muslim faithful trekked long distances for the Eid prayers.
Restriction of vehicular movement was also imposed in Maiduguri metropolis, from 7 am to 12. 15pm, just as a 13-hour ban on vehicular movement was also imposed in neighbouring Damaturu, the Yobe capital.
The police public relations officer for Borno State command, Mr. Abubakar Usman in a statement he issued in Maiduguri, said that the restriction on movement would last for two days.
In his message, Alhaji Shettima Sale, the chief imam of Borno Central Mosque, admonished Nigerians to embrace peace and love one another.
Sale also enjoined the citizens to continue praying for the return of lasting peace to the state.
In Gombe, Malam Aliyu Hammari, the deputy chief imam, Gombe Central Mosque, called on Governor Inuwa Yahaya, to fulfill his campaign promises to people.
Hamari also urged the new governor to maintain his good conduct and make himself available to the people at all times.
In a statement on the occasion, Governor Yahaya called on the people to imbibe the culture of peaceful co-existence, irrespective of their differences.
“We must live together imbibe the tenets of Islam, which promotes peace, tolerance, modesty and love. Peace is a catalyst for socio-economic development in any society and I urge the people of the state to continue to live in harmony, irrespective of their differences,” he said.
The chief imam of Gwallaga Friday Mosque in Bauchi, Sheikh Ibrahim Idris, advised Muslims to increase their devotion and generosity even after the Ramadan month.
He said that the significance and benefits of fasting to a believer could not be over-emphasised.
“We should seek true closeness to God, forgive one another, help and share with the less privileged and non-Muslims in our society,” he said.
The police public relations officer in Bauchi State, DSP Kamal Datti, said that there were no reports of ugly incidents throughout the state.
The state governor, Bala Mohammed, in a statement issued by his spokesperson, Ladan Salihu, charged Muslims to extend their hands of fellowship to followers of other faiths.
He said: “Islam, as you are all aware, is a religion of peace and preaches nothing but peace. As Muslims, we should learn from the teachings of Ramadan in our daily dealings with our brothers and sisters.
“We should also extend hands of fellowship to followers of other faiths; Eid el- fitr celebration should also be used to strengthen existing relationships and also establish new ones,” Mohammed said.
In a similar message, his Adamawa State counterpart, Ahmadu Fintiri, emphasised the need for peaceful coexistence in line with the lessons of Ramadan.
In a message through his director, Media and Communications, Mr. Solomon Kumangar, the governor urged the people to allow the lessons of Ramadan guide their actions.
While wishing the people peaceful celebration, he urged them to be alert and report any suspicious movement to security agents.
The chief imam of Dutse Central Mosque in Jigawa, Muhammad Birninkudu, urged wealthy Muslims to use the lessons learnt during the month of Ramadan to help the less privileged in the society.
The cleric also cautioned Muslims on the negative use of the social media.
In Ikorodu, Lagos State, the chief imam of Alhaja Sideeqat Ahmad Megida Central Mosque, Nurudeen Abdul-Kadiri, urged Nigerians to support President Muhammadu Buhari with prayers to succeed in his second tenure in office.
Abdul-Kadiri made the plea after the Eid-el-Fitr prayers held in the mosque premises in Ikorodu yesterday.
According to him, there is need for all Nigerians to support Buhari morally and spiritually for him to achieve tremendous success during his second tenure.
“The expectations of the Muslims are that President Buhari should continue on the part he had started such as the issue of the security; although our president is trying in ensuring security of lives and property in Nigeria,” he said.
A worshipper, Abdulraham Ali, urged the president to look for ways to improve on the economy of the country.
He urged Nigerians to be patient and hope for a better country under President Buhari in his second tenure.
Similarly, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, declared yesterday Tuesday June 4, as the Eid-el-Fitr day marking the end of Ramadan fast. The Sultan announced the sighting of the new moon of Shawwal in a radio and television broadcast in Sokoto on Monday.
After the prayers, the faithful congratulated one another and headed for their homes. They spent the day visiting relatives and neighbours. Children, dressed in new clothes, were offered gifts to celebrate the joyous occasion. The children were sighted accepting money, food, candies, sweeties and toys from close relatives and family friends as they move around from house to house across major streets in the country.
Basically, there were also exchange of food, foodstuffs, raw meats amongst Muslims faithful’s and their Christian counterparts. Throughout the day, family elders distribute cash or gifts to the children.
This was preceded by the giving of alms to the poor or ‘Zakat’, which is one of the five pillars of Islam.
In the northern part of the country, Muslims faithful’s simply exchanged pleasantries amongst themselves by saying “Barka de Sallah” meaning “Happy Sallah”. In the western part of the country, they simply exchange pleasantries by saying “Eku Odun Eid” meaning happy Eid-el-Fitr while the Etsako speaking people in Edo state exchanged pleasantries by saying “Vha mo ‘ni Sannah” meaning Happy Sallah celebrations.
The federal government had earlier declared Tuesday, June 4 and Wednesday, June 5, as public holidays to mark the Muslim Eid-Fitri celebration.
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