By ISAIAH BENJAMIN, AZA MSUE, Kaduna, MOHAMMED HARUNA, Bauchi, ABU NMODU, Minna
Governors, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, have asked Muslims in Nigeria to reflect the lessons they learnt at Ramadan in their public and private lifestyles.
While congratulating Muslims on the successful completion of the month-long Ramadan fast, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, commended them for the patience and understanding they displayed under tough conditions induced by the lockdown of the state this year.
In an Eid-el-Fitr message signed by the special adviser on Media and Communication to the Governor, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye, el-Rufai ‘’prayed that Almighty Allah will amply reward and bless these efforts.’’
El-Rufai ‘’praised the spirit of sacrifice and resilience displayed by the Muslim community during the fasting period and called for continued adherence to public health guidelines to protect the citizens from COVID-19.’’
According to Adekeye, the governor noted the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has created, which limited the traditions associated with fasting and the celebration of Eid-el-Fitr this year.
He thanked the Muslim ‘’community for abiding with the public health guidelines, and avoiding congregational worship and communal gatherings to break their fast.’’
El-Rufai urged ‘’the Muslim community to keep hope alive, to continue to practice compliance with health guidelines and not to relent in prayers for an end to the disruptions caused by COVID-19.’’
Also, his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed, enjoined the Muslim Ummah to emulate Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him by making sacrifices for the benefit of the less privileged members of the society.
The governor made the plea in a goodwill message on the occasion of the 2020 Eid-el-fitr celebrations.
Governor Mohammed urged the Muslims to use the celebration to reflect on their past activities so that they may take corrective measures towards improving their relationship with their creator.
He said that Eid-el-fitr celebration marked the end of the mandatory fasting which entailed abstinence from basic human needs such as eating, drinking and pleasure of the flesh.
He said: “Fasting strengthens our faith in the Almighty Allah, purifies our souls and guides our utterances and conduct. Muslims believe that Ramadan teaches self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice and empathy with those who are the less privileged, thus encouraging actions of generosity and clarity.
”It is my hope that we will continue to be responsible in both our utterances and conduct even after the Ramadan period, as believers, we should be guided by the teachings of Ramadan in our day-to-day dealings with our brothers and sisters and extend hands of fellowship to adherents of other faith,” the governor said.
Similarly, the apex northern socio-cultural organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) con gratulated the Muslim Ummah on Sallah celebrations.
In a statement signed by Emmanuel Yawe, ACF national publicity secretary, ACF said that even though COVID-19 was novel, the Muslim community had broadly cooperated with the government in observing the anti-COVID-19 protocols.
ACF called on Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic affiliation or religious belief to see ”this as an opportunity to share their love with their compatriots, especially those who are in need and need to be loved and cared for.
”The Arewa Consultative Forum celebrates with the Muslim Ummah the end of the Ramadan fasting period and Eid-el-fitri Sallah.
“The Forum is aware that this year’s Eid-el-fitr is a unique event because it has come at a time when the whole country, indeed the whole world, is ravaged by coronavirus pandemic. It is a trying period not only for Nigerian Muslims but for all Nigerians.
“The Forum prays that the Almighty Allah will approve of your kind deeds and forgive all your disobedient acts and sins. The Forum also prays to Allah to ease the sufferings of Nigerians.
”We use this Sallah to call on all Nigerians irrespective of ethnic affiliation or religious belief to see this as an opportunity to share their love with their compatriots, especially those who are in need and need to be loved and cared for,” ACF said.
In his goodwill message, the Etsu Nupe and chairman of the Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, admonished Nigerians Muslims to build bridges of national unity.
He spoke as Muslims in the state held Eidel fitri prayers in Friday Mosques instead of the usual Eid praying grounds.
The Etsu Nupe, after the Eid prayers at the Etsu Usman Zaki Juma’at Mosque in Bida, urged the people to love one another to promote unity and peace in the country.
While he congratulated Muslims on the successful completion of Ramadan fast and the Sallah celebrations, the royal father stressed the need for them to love one another and support the less privileged in the society.
He charged Muslims to use the occasion to rebuild the fabric of national unity and reaffirm Nigeria’s common destiny as an indivisible entity.
The traditional ruler also challenged Muslims to make Nigeria the ultimate beneficiary of the spiritual lessons from the month of Ramadan, adding that with prayers and fear of Allah, peaceful coexistence, mutual respect and love, Nigerians would work together and harness the abundant resources as a progressive nation.
The eminent monarch called on the citizens to build bridges of brotherhood to harness the benefits of earthly life and the ultimate purpose of the nation’s unity.
He said: “God has endowed wealth on people not for themselves and their immediate family, but for the benefit of the entire society; wealthy individuals should assist the less privileged and build bridges of unity.
”The present socio-economic predicaments that we are now facing as a result of coronavirus require such assistance from well-to-do individuals in the country,” he said
The Etsu Nupe advised Nigerians to adhere to all measures put in place to tackle the challenges posed by corona virus
He said: ”I enjoin Nigerians to adhere strictly to all the safety measures against COVID-19 as advised by the government and health experts such as frequent washing of hands, social distancing and environmental hygiene at all times.
”If these are done by all of us, they will go a long way in curtailing the spread of the virus in our communities and the country at large,” he said.