President Muhammadu Buhari has sent Eid greetings on the occasion of Eid-el-Kabir that is being celebrated across the world today, reassuring Nigerians that his administration was working hard to fix the country’s current challenges.
In his message marking the Muslim feast, the president in a statement by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, restated the determination of his administration to create a just, harmonious and prosperous country in which the safety of life and property is assured.
The president reflected on current challenges facing the country.
He said: “COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the economies of all countries, including Nigeria, in addition to the fact that floods have caused large scale destruction to agricultural farmlands, thereby impacting negatively on our efforts to boost local production in line with our policy to drastically reduce food importation.” This, he explained, has led to food inflation which the government is working hard to address.
According to president Buhari, “no government in our recent history has invested as heavily as we are doing to promote local production of about 20 other commodities, through the provision of loans and several other forms of support to our farmers.
“Apart from the destruction caused to rice farms by floods, middlemen have also taken advantage of the local rice production to exploit fellow Nigerians, thereby undermining our goal of supporting local food production at affordable prices.
“As an elected president who enjoys the goodwill of the ordinary people that gave us their mandate, let me assure you that we are continuing with measures to bring relief to Nigerians, including making fertilizer available at affordable prices to our farmers.”
The president also noted that the current insecurity in the country “has produced severe and adverse effects on agriculture because farmers are prevented from accessing their farms by bandits and terrorists.
“Let me also use this opportunity to reassure Nigerians that we are taking measures to address our security challenges. We have started taking delivery of fighter aircraft and other necessary military equipment and hardware to improve the capacity of our security forces to confront terrorism and banditry,” he added.
Speaking on the significance of the Eid-el-Kabir celebration, the president appealed to Muslims “to demonstrate the good virtues of Islam through personal examples and practices.
“Taking advantage of the celebration to exploit fellow citizens through outrageous prices of food and rams is inconsistent with the fine virtues of Islam.
“As practising believers, we shouldn’t seek obscene profits by making life difficult and miserable for others. We should not seek happiness at the expense of others. Remember that Islam is a religion of charity that urges us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.
“I urge all Muslims to continue to live in peace and harmony with their fellow Nigerians of other faiths in the spirit of peaceful coexistence. Let us pray for the progress of Nigeria at all times. Let us expose undesirable elements among us who are creating security problems for the country,” the president added.
Current Challenges Are Painful, Says Senate President
In his own message, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the current challenges the country is facing are painful, but that it is a passing phase in the nation’s evolution, even as he urged Nigerians to unite and confront the challenges.
“I also want to use the occasion to urge the faithful and all Nigerians to be steadfast in working and praying for the peace, unity and progress of our beloved country.
“The current challenges are painful but this is a passing phase in our historical process of nation-building,” Lawan said while felicitating with all Nigerians and the Muslim Ummah on the occasion of Eid-el-Kabir.
“Every true Muslim is always grateful to Allah, the Most Beneficent and the Most Merciful, for the privilege to celebrate Sallah, regardless of our circumstances.
“The best way to demonstrate our gratitude to Allah is to share His blessings with our neighbours and show love and kindness to all, as taught us by Holy Prophet Mohammed (SAW).
“The government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is determined that we get the challenges behind us and steady our nation’s march to its manifest destiny of greatness,” Lawan said.
According to him, the Ninth Senate and entire National Assembly will continue to facilitate the legislative environment needed for the success of all the efforts at the Public and Private Sectors targeted at the security, peace and prosperity of Nigeria.
“In this respect, I would like to restate our resolute commitment to our Legislative Agenda as set out shortly after the inauguration of the Assembly in 2019. I am proud that we have kept faith with our promises, as contained in that Agenda, to the Nigerian people as their parliament.
“The promises kept include passing the Petroleum Industry Bill(PIB) that had lingered for close to two decades. We finally broke that jinx. We have also passed the Electoral Act 2010 Amendment Bill to further strengthen and enhance the integrity of our electoral processes.
“We believe the two critical legislations will positively impact our economy and democracy. Even before we passed the Electoral Act 2020 Amendment Bill, we had passed the Electoral Offences Commission Bill to check these offences. “
Gbajabiamila Sues For Prayers, Unity
Also giving his sallah message, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has called for prayers and unity of purpose among Nigerians at this period of Eid-el-Kabir.
He said as people that believe and worship God, Nigerians, especially Muslims, should use the opportunity of the Eid-el-Kabir to pray for their leaders to be able to find solutions to our problems.
Gbajabiamila said Nigerians must remain united and steadfast at all times to be able to face the challenges confronting the country.
He called on Muslims to imbibe the habit of sacrifice and love for one another as characterised by the Holy Prophet, Muhammad (SAW).
Gbajabiamila said there is more that unites us as a people, hence the need for togetherness and peaceful coexistence.
Through his special adviser on media and publicity, Lanre Lasisi, the speaker urged Nigerians to conduct themselves in a patriotic manner as “we have no other country we can call our own than Nigeria.”
“As Muslims, we must make frantic efforts to emulate the virtues of the Holy Prophet, whose life is a perfect example of what we all should be.
“The act of sacrifice, one of the major lessons of the Eid-el-Kabir, should be part of our lives at all times. We must make sacrifices for ourselves, our families, our friends, our neighbours, and of course, our country.
“I enjoin all of us to continue to be good citizens and make meaningful contributions for our continuous peaceful coexistence,” Gbajabiamila said.
Governors, Others preach Peace
Governors and other Nigerians have communicated their goodwill messages to the Muslim faithful and other Nigerians.
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom urged the people of the state and other Nigerians to continue to pray and support the peace and unity of the country.
This is even as the governor decried the current spate of insecurity, where hundreds of school children are being kidnapped on the daily basis in some parts of the country by armed herders as well as their frequent attacks and killing of farmers in communities across the state and other acts of terrorism, which he said, can only be surmounted if security agencies are given adequate support.
The governor emphasized that the safety of lives and property in all parts of the state remained the priority of his administration.
According to him, Eid-el-Kabir offers all Muslims the opportunity to exemplify the virtues of piety, honesty, charity and generosity, according to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad.
A statement by the chief press secretary Terver Akase quoted the governor as wishing Muslim falthful in the state a joyful Eid-el-Kabir celebration.
On his part, Adamawa State governor Umaru Fintiri has felicitated with the Muslim Ummah on the celebration of this Year’s Eid-el-Kabir.
Fintiri, in a statement by his press secretary Humwashi Wonosikou enjoined Muslims to remember that the season is one to give thanks to Almighty Allah “for sparing our lives as individuals and families to celebrate”.
“Eid-el-Kabir teaches and reminds us of the meaning of sacrifice, love and forbearance with one another. The significance of the celebration is rooted in peaceful co-existence, mutual respect and tolerance”.
According to him, this year’s celebration is to commemorate the trials and triumph of Prophet Ibrahim.
“As we mark the festivities, I sincerely believe that our state will make rapid progress on all fronts if we re-enact the exemplary virtues typified by Prophet Ibrahim through his sacrifice, patience, steadfastness, generosity and obedience to Allah’s command and constituted authority.”
He enjoined Muslims to remember and share their God-given wealth with the less privileged and live in peace with one another as enshrined in the tenets of Islamic faith.
For his part, Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade has urged Muslim faithful to imbibe the virtues of obedience, love, almsgiving, honesty and sacrifice as exemplified by Prophet Mohammed.
The governor’s admonition was contained in a Sallah message signed on his behalf by his special adviser on media and publicity, Christian Ita.
CAN, NIREC Felicitate With Muslim Ummah
Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has felicitated with the leadership of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and Muslim faithful as they celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Kabir festival.
A statement signed by the national CAN general secretary. Daramola Bade Joseph, reads in part: “We felicitate with you for being alive to witness this day and celebrate despite the menace of insecurity challenges in the country occasioned by the criminal activities of bandits, kidnappers, terrorists, killer-herdsmen and other undesirable elements.
“We, therefore, call on both the leaders and the followers of Islam to continue to embrace the virtues of love, peace, unity, kindness and sacrifice, as exemplified by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW), during and after the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations. They should also use the occasion to pray for Nigeria to come out of these insecurity challenges better and greater.”
CAN also appealed to all security agencies, especially the Police and the Army, to rise up to the challenges with a view to preventing the unscrupulous criminals from attacking the innocent during and after the celebrations.
In the same vein, the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) also felicitated with the Muslim Ummah on the occasion of the Eid-el-Kabir celebration. In the statement signed by the NIREC’s executive secretary, Fr. Cornelius Omonokhua, the group said, “May the Almighty Allah (SWT) accept your sacrifices and bless you abundantly.
PDP Urges Selflessness
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday congratulated all Muslim faithful on this year’s Eid-el-Kabir and called on citizens to use the occasion to strengthen their trust in God as the divine source of sustenance as exemplified by the Holy Prophet Ibrahim.
The party stressed that Eid-el-Kabir presented the nation and indeed humanity with an occasion to recommit to the virtues of selflessness, love and care for one another, especially in the face of economic, political and social challenges facing our nation.
PDP in a statement by the national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, urged leaders at all levels of governance to use the occasion of the Eid el Kabir to show more sacrifices towards the people and pursue only those things that will improve the living conditions of Nigerians.
“Our party is however troubled that most Nigerian families are celebrating the Eid el Kabir under very serious economic despair, but we urge them not to surrender to despondency but to keep hope alive as we collectively work to rescue our nation.
“The PDP therefore calls on the citizens to reach out, share with and uplift one another so that the joy of the Eid-el-Kabir is spread among all,” he said.
On his part, PDP national chairman, Uche Secondus, expressed concern at the state of the nation and called for the intensification of prayers.
Secondus asked Nigerian Muslims to use the solemn period of Sallah to present Nigeria’s discomforting situation to Allah for his prompt intervention and mercy.
The PDP boss said that poor leadership was threatening the nation’s existence and there was a need to seek God’s intervention.
He said that the blood of thousands of innocent souls being wasted daily at various troubled spots, particularly the abduction and killing of school children in the North, should be enough cause to plead to God to save this country from destruction.
According to Prince Secondus, Nigerians should also use the period to offer fervent prayers for the unity and stability of the nation which is seriously under threat due to insecurity and biting economic hardship arising from poor leadership.
It’s Reminder Of What We Must Do To Heal Nigeria – Atiku
Former vice president Atiku Abubakar has decried that the killing of the innocent souls as well as the propagation of hateful rhetoric has become a norm in the country.
Atiku in his Eid-el-Kabir message said the celebration teaches the meaning of sacrifice, love and forbearance with God and in relationships with one another.
The former vice president said “The significance of the celebration today is rooted in peaceful co-existence, mutual respect and tolerance. These are the virtues that we, as Nigerians, need to imbibe as we seek to heal our country of all shades of mistrust.
“According to the teachings of Noble Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the slaughtering of animals in celebration of this festival is to evoke and reinforce the consciousness of God in all our deeds and wishes.
“We would not be able to fully appreciate the love from God if we allow killing of the innocent souls and propagation of hateful rhetoric become a norm amongst us.
“As I congratulate Muslims in Nigeria and across the globe on this year’s Eid el-Kabir, may I remind you of our beloved Prophet’s saying that, “no nation is superior to the other. But the best amongst you is the one with the best piety to Allah.”
Niger Islamiyya Pupils Spend Sallah In Bandits’ Den
Meanwhile, as the waiting and negotiation continue for the release of abducted Salihu Tanko Islamiyya pupils,Tegina, Niger State, the children are spending the Sallah in the bandits’ den amid parents’ worries.
The pupils who were abducted on May 30, 2021, have already spent 51 days in the bandits’ den with N25 million ransom reportedly paid but without the release of the children.
A civil right activist Dauda Abdullahi said,” The children are spending the Eid-el-Kabir in captivity of the bandits without their parents’ tender care during festivities like Eid-el-kabir. It is indeed unfortunate.”
Some of the parents who spoke to LEADERSHIP on condition of anonymity said they are not happy that their children are still in captivity.
“It does not feel like a Sallah celebration to us. How do you expect me to be happy, with gun-wielding men keeping my daughters of less than 10 years deep in the forest?” a parent asked.
Another parent said that she could not believe that his daughter, who could hardly take care of herself on a normal set up, can survive for over 50 days in the bandits’ hands.
“I just wonder how she is feeling now, on a Sallah day in the captivity of the bandits,” she said.
Meanwhile, it was learnt that an initial N25 million ransom was paid to a wrong set of bandits and not the abductors of the pupils.
Consequently, the parents raised an undisclosed amount of money due for delivery yesterday and there were strong indications that the pupils may be released this week.
The headteacher of the school, Alhassan Garba Abubakar, confirmed that N25 million was earlier paid to some bandits while another money is being raised to ensure the safe release of the pupils.