Unlike in previous years when he used to travel to Daura, his home town in Katsina State, for the big Sallah, Eid-el-Kabir, President Muhammadu Buhari will be celebrating the annual festival in Abuja this year.
And for the second time, the president will be observing the Eid prayers with his family at home just like he did during Eid-el-Fitr two months ago in line with advisories from the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and the presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19.
Since he assumed office in 2015, the president has always maintained the tradition of celebrating the Eid-el-Kabir festival in Daura.
While wishing all Muslims a safe and happy Eid-el-Kabir, President Buhariu, according to a statement by his senior special assistant on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, instructed Nigerians to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols issued by the PTF that large gatherings, as much as possible, should be discouraged.
He noted that where small groups choose to hold the Eid together, face masks are absolutely necessary, as is social distancing, even as he advised that such prayers should hold outdoors and worshippers are encouraged to bring their own prayer mats.
In order to stop the spread of the disease, Shehu said the president will not be receiving Sallah homages by religious, community, party and government leaders, just as he urged all citizens to observe the occasion as advised by state and local authorities.
Police Restrict Vehicular Movement In Borno
Meanwhile, the Borno State Command of the Nigeria Police force has imposed restriction on vehicular movement on Sallah day from 6am to 12noon.
A statement by the Command’s deputy public relations officer, ASP Yakubu Mohammed said the restriction affects motor vehicles, tricycles, bicycles, wheelbarrows, horses and donkeys.
The statement further advised worshipers to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 safety protocols and observe social distancing while going for prayers as any person not wearing face masks will not gain access into the Eid ground.
It also advised the Muslim faithful to pray at praying grounds nearest to their homes.
“They are equally advised to arrive early at their respective eid grounds for security screening to avoid stampede,” the Police said.
The statement warned that no bags, weapons or sharp objects will be allowed into any praying ground, urging worshipers to cooperate with security operatives.
The command urged the public to be security conscious and report any suspicious persons or activities to security agents.
…Caution Clerics Against Inciting, Seditious Preaching In Sokoto
In Sokoto State, the commissioner of police, Ibrahim Ka’oje has warned Islamic Clerics in the state against inciting and seditious preaching as the state gets set for Eid-El-Kabir celebrations.
The CP who also stressed that political statements and slogans will not be accepted at the praying grounds warned that Mosques are not campaign nor partying venues.
He stated: “Islamic clerics are advised to shun inciting and seditious preaching, the Mosques are neither a campaign nor partying venues, especially amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, hence, and political statements, slogans and gatherings will not be accepted at the praying grounds”.
Ka’oje, in a statement signed by the Command’s public relations officer, ASP Abubakar Sadiq, further advised criminals to avoid Sokoto State completely as the police have deployed full combatant-ready police officers to operate within the ambits of the law to keep the state free of crime and criminality
While congratulating Muslims in advance for tomorrow’s Eid-el-Kabir, the CP assured the public that the police were ever prepared to provide adequate security for lives and property before, during and after the celebrations.
“Policemen derived from all Departments have been deployed in Sokoto metropolitan area, while adequate provision has also been made to secure other parts of the State.
“Finally, the general public is admonished to comply with all safety advisories aimed at the containment of the Covid-19 pandemic and to report any suspicious movements in their area to the nearest Police formation”, he added.
NSCDC Deploys 3,000 Personnel In Kaduna
Ahead of this year’s Eid-el-Kabir celebrations, the Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Kaduna State Command, Babangida Abdullahi Dustinma, has hinted on the readiness of the Command to deploy over 3,000 personnel for patrol, surveillance and general security in the state.
The commandant who made the disclosure at the command headquarters decried wanton destruction of lives and property in some parts of the state, enjoining residents to eschew violence and embrace peaceful co-existence as panacea for development.
Considering the deplorable security situation, Dutsinma said deployment of personnel will be ensured in all the 23 local government areas to tackle insecurity.
He explained that he had already directed all the three area commanders and divisional officers to intensify effort in surveillance and intelligence to fish out perpetrators of dastard acts.
Dutsinma stressed the need for synergy and collaboration among security agencies, just as he tasked community members in the state to assist with useful information on whereabouts of criminals.
He warned parents and guardians to monitor their children and wards against indulging in illegal acts, expressing worry in the upsurge of criminal acts like kidnapping and rape carried out by youths.
These Are Challenging Times For Workers – NLC
President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, lamented yesterday that the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a series of challenges for workers across the country.
The NLC president who stated this in his Goodwill message to the national delegates conference of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria yesterday in Abuja said the industrial rights of workers and the human rights privileges of citizens have never been as challenged and assaulted as during the prevailing corona virus pandemic.
He said, “Thousands of workers in the private sector have already lost their jobs. There are threats of retrenchment through downsizing and right sizing in the public sector. The Stephen Oronsaye Report is being dusted from the archives. These are truly challenging times for workers.”
Wabba explained that organised labour in Nigeria recently negotiated a N30,000 national minimum wage for Nigerian workers, but there are still challenges in the implementation of the consequential salary adjustment consequent on the new national minimum wage.
He said, “I expect the incoming leadership to tackle this headlong. The challenge of emolument dichotomy between workers in the core civil service and those in the public service persists. In the spirit of the universal principles of equal pay for work of same value, I urge you not to relent on this matter until justice is achieved.”
The NLC president lamented what he described as “deteriorating living conditions of civil servants in Nigeria.”
According to him, there was a time when a career in the civil service was the envy of all, adding that right now, the story is completely different.
He said, “There is no better time than now to fight for the recovery and repositioning of the civil service as the fulcrum and pride of governance. We must bring back our civil servants from the back waters of satellite towns and shanty settlements where the ultra-high cost of accommodation and living has driven them to.
“We must task government to bring back the good old days when civil servants, both junior and senior, enjoyed decent and affordable accommodation in city centres. We must bring back the good old days of car loans, mortgage facilities, and predictable promotion and so on to our civil servants. We must also prioritise the resuscitation of an effective social services delivery system.
“It is an open scandal that our children hardly attend public schools these days, no thanks to the massive decay of infrastructure and the de-motivation of the staff in our public schools. The gaps in quality social service delivery in Nigeria are the incentives for indiscipline and corruption.
“A genuine fight against corruption starts with paying workers their legitimate entitlements as when due, ensuring effective social services that are affordable and emplacing a reward and punishment mechanism that brings the best out of workers.”
Wabba also said the COVID-19 pandemic has severely tested the resilience and resoluteness of the public service and its staff, stressing that the healthcare, education and public transportation systems as well as the core civil service have all come under the heavy fire of the virus.
He said, “It is gratifying and heartwarming that our workers in the civil service especially those at the senior cadre, health workers and those on essential service stood out well during this trying pandemic. While others were at home during the lockdown, you were behind your desks pursuing public policies for our collective wellbeing even at great risks to your health and life.”
In a separate statement made available to journalists in Abuja, Comrade Wabba condemned the rise in attacks by herdsmen and terrorists.
He said government must do whatever it takes under the powers bestowed on it to break once and for all the spine of terrorism and violent crimes in our country.
According to him, the current sad state of affairs took another calamitous turn with the public execution of five humanitarian workers by Boko Haram in Borno State.
FG repatriates 289 Nigerians in 4th evacuation flight
Meanwhile, the federal government has evacuated 289 more Nigerians stranded in the United States due to coronavirus-related border closure.
An Ethiopian Airlines plane conveying the evacuees took off from New Jersey on Tuesday night, and is expected to land in Abuja on Wednesday afternoon.
This is the fourth evacuation flight, which brings to 1,095 the total number of stranded Nigerians so far repatriated by the Federal Government from the U.S.
Two families of seven were dropped from the flight, according to the Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Mr Benaoyagha Okoyen.
Okoyen told NAN that they were denied boarding for failing to present COVID-19 test result, which is a key requirement for the flight.
The evacuees were stranded after Nigeria shut its borders against the U.S. in March to check spread of the coronavirus.
The U.S. is currently the epicentre of the pandemic with 4.3 million confirmed cases and 149,256 deaths as of Tuesday, according to John Hopkins University’s data.
Meanwhile, the federal government has approved two more evacuation flights, scheduled to depart from Texas and New Jersey on July 31 and Aug. 7 respectively.