President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday vowed not to rest on his oars until he brings relief to Nigerians in the face of the difficulties they are grappling with.
In his Eid-el-Kabir message to mark this year’s Sallah celebrations, Buhari however implored Nigerians to put the interest of the country above selfish interests and the “use religion as a motivation for the love of our common humanity.”
“I won’t rest until I bring relief to Nigerians. I am quite aware of the difficulties people are facing and working to resolve them,” the president assured the citizens against the current security challenges and costs of living in the country.
In the Sallah released by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, President said, “If we are putting the teachings of our religions into practice, most of the evils afflicting our society would have been solved.
“Religion shouldn’t just be used as a mere badge of identity, but as a motivator for doing good for our country and humanity. The exploitation of the people by traders and the stealing of public funds by civil servants and other holders of public trust is a reflection of the abandonment of the teachings of our religions.
“Our society is a bundle of contradictions. People display external religiosity without fear of God; they make life difficult for others; money becomes their god; leaders abandon their oaths of office by taking money meant for the welfare of the people and divert it to their private pockets.
President Buhari congratulated the Muslim Ummah globally on the occasion of the Eid, citing for special mention, “the brave men and women in uniform fighting terror on many fronts and their families, as well as others held hostage and kept away from their families by wicked and heartless terrorists.”
He called on all Muslims to reflect on the significance of the sacrifice epitomised by Eid.
“We should show love and care to our neighbours and others while celebrating this spiritually important event in our lives. To promote the good virtues of Islam through personal examples and practice, Muslims should avoid association with violent extremist ideas that have wrongly given Islam a negative image or poor perception,” he noted.
The president hope that this Eid will be a source of blessing, peace, prosperity and safety for all Nigerians, stressing that coexistence and stability will prevail in the country.
Lawan, Tinubu, Govs, Others Greet Muslins, Seek Firm Stand Against Terror
On their part, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, state governors and other prominent Nigerians felicitated with Muslims, urging them to take a firm stand against terrorism and other forms of crime in the country.
Lawan, while felicitating with Nigerians, particularly the Muslim Ummah, on the occasion of the Sallah festival, appreciated the Muslim faithful for their prayers, which he said has been strengthening the people and sustaining the nation in the face of its numerous challenges.
He urged Nigerians not to cease praying for Nigeria or waver in their belief that the purpose of Allah shall prevail for the country.
On his part, Tinubu implored Nigerians take a stand against terror and injustice, two evils he said lie outside the Islamic faith.
Tinubu who stated this in his Sallah message to Nigerians asked Muslim faithful to keep in remembrance the true meaning of the Eid-el-Kabir holiday, noting that more importantly, they always strive to conduct their “daily lives in accordance with the clear and beneficial message of this occasion.”
He expressed gratitude to Muslims in Nigeria and around the world, including people of other creeds and faiths, even as he said no amount of evil or terror will stop him and others from fulfilling what Allah has commanded, which is to build a better Nigeria.
Urging Nigerians in particular to rise against perpetrators of evil, the former Lagos governor said, “We face stiff challenges as a nation. Most troubling is the spate of violent attacks on innocent Nigerians.
“We must take a stand against terror and injustice. These evils lie forever outside our faith. Those who perpetuate such inhumanity do so in opposition to Islam and all that it means.
“To be true Muslims is to adhere to the principles of peace, tolerance, justice, and charity. Our faith asks us to stand against those perpetrating evil and visiting untold misery on others. And we must remain forever obedient to the kind and life-affirming principles of our faith.
“Yes, there are those who seek to bring this nation and Islam into disrepute through their destructive and violent actions. They seek to pit brother against brother, neighbour against neighbour, and religion against religion. They want to break the peaceful order of society.
“But Allah has placed us here to build a better Nigeria by taking care and seeing all of its inhabitants as our brothers and sisters regardless of ethnicity, faith and region. This we shall do. And no amount of evil or terror from whatever quarter shall stop us from fulfilling what Allah has commanded us to do.”
On their part, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and his deputy, Ahmed Idris Wase, felicitated with Nigerian Muslims on the occasion of this year’s Eid-el-Kabir celebrations.
Gbajabiamila, in a statement, noted that the period calls for sacrifice and commitment to the course of the Almighty Allah.
He called on Nigerian Muslims, especially those participating in this year’s Hajj, to redouble their prayers for the country.
At times like this, the Speaker said, it is incumbent on the people to be united as one people to face the challenges confronting the country.
Niger State governor and chairman opf North Central States Governor’s Forum (NCSGF), Abubakar Sani Bello, said the society will be a better place to live in for everyone if there is relative social equilibrium.
While felicitating with the Muslim Ummah in the state as they celebrate this year’s Eid-El-Kabir, the governor urged Muslims to renew their commitment to the pursuit of peace and progress of the country.
He said, “The society will be a better place to live in for everyone if there is relative social equilibrium”.
He enjoined the Ummah to imbibe the virtuous of obedience, tolerance, faith, perseverance and sacrifice as exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.).
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State congratulated Muslim faithful, just as he wished all Nigerians love, joy, peace, and prosperity.
In his Sallah Message, Ugwuanyi prayed for God’s boundless grace and favour upon all Nigerians; stating that the solemn festival of Eid-el-Kabir, anchored on love and sacrifice, comes with the peace, unity and fulfillment which the country needs to forge ahead.
Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, felicitated with Muslims on the celebration of Eid-el-Kabir, urging them to imbibe the lesson of sacrifice which the Eid-el-Kabir symbolizes.
In a statement, the governor said, “I felicitate with our Muslim brothers and sisters on the celebration of the Eid-el-Kabir festivities. As we join our Muslim faithful to mark this auspicious celebration, I urge everyone to imbibe the lesson of sacrifice that it symbolizes.
“Beyond personal convictions, we all have a deeper and greater responsibility to God and humanity.”
For his part, Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State called for relentless prayers from the Muslim Ummah against the spate of insecurity bedeviling Nigeria.
Ishaku in his Eid-El-Kabir message to Muslims in Taraba described the Sallah celebration as one of the most remarkable events on the Islamic calendar which comes usually with peace and excitement.
In a statement sign by his special assistant on media and publicity, Bala Dan-Habu, the governor said the 2022 Sallah celebration is exciting because it is an opportunity for the people to thank God for His mercies and to pray for protection against the current unabaiting spate of insecurity in Nigeria.
On his part, former Senate President Bukola Saraki congratulated Nigerian Muslims and other faithful across the world, urging them not to get tired of praying for peace, security, and prosperity around the globe.
In a Sallah message signed by the head of his Media Office, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki reminded Muslims of the significance of Eid-el-Kabir which he said symbolizes obedience to Allah, genuine sacrifice to and faith in their creator as well as the desire for peace and further advise Muslims to always demonstrate these values in their daily activities.
42,000 Nigerian Pilgrims, Others Converge On Mount Arafat
Meanwhile, no fewer than one million Muslim pilgrims, including a total of 42, 000 from Nigeria, have converged on Mount Arafat for the 2022 Hajj rituals.
The pilgrims will spend the whole day on Mount Arafat as one of the high points of Hajj rituals before moving to Muzdalifah where they will spend the night, and then return to Muna in continuation of further hajj ritual exercise.
Standing on Arafat is an essential part of the Hajj because it is a site where all supplications by pilgrims are automatically accepted by Allah.
Pilgrims are expected to use the day for prayers for themselves, families, friends, communities, nations and the whole world.
The Hill of Arafat is also known as Jabal ar-Rahmah, meaning Mountain of Mercy.
On the ninth day of hajj, pilgrims leave Muna for Mount Arafat where they stand in contemplative vigil and pray and recite the Quran.
It was at the Mount Arafat that Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) gave his last sermon to the Muslims who had accompanied him for the Hajj towards the end of his life.
A pilgrim’s Hajj is considered invalid if they do not spend the whole day on Mount Arafat.
Meanwhile, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has tendered unreserved apology to the entire Nigerian pilgrims to the 2022 Hajj for the hardships and disappointments experienced during outbound airlift operations to the holy land.
The commission offered a similar apology to the federal government of Nigeria, State Pilgrims’ Welfare Boards, Private Tour Operators, and the general public for any embarrassment the situation of the past few weeks might have caused them and the country.
The commission specifically apologised to 1552 intending pilgrims of Bauchi, Plateau and Kano States as well as those under the Private Tour Operators who could not make this Hajj due last minute setbacks that frustrated its plan to conclude airlift of pilgrims before the closure of Jeddah airport.
The affected pilgrims are nine (9) pilgrims from Bauchi State; 91 pilgrims from Plateau State; 700 pilgrims from Kano State and an estimated 750 pilgrims from the Private Tour Operators sector
The Commission in a statement by assistant director, public affairs, Hajiya Fatima Sanda Usara, assured all the affected pilgrims that they will be refunded their Hajj fares while it will work towards improving its deficiencies next year.
600 Kano Intending Pilgrims Miss This Year’s Hajj
Meanwhile, over 600 intending muslim pilgrims from Kano State were not airlifted to Saudi Arabia to perform this year’s pilgrimage.
According to a news report by the Hausa service of the Voice of America (VOA) monitored by our correspondent on Friday morning, the intending pilgrims were stranded for three days at the Kano Hajj camp waiting to be evacuated to the holy land by the designated airline, AZMAN, but to no avail.
The hopes of the intending pilgrims were dashed on Thursday, a day to the arafat day, one of the main rituals for the pilgrimage observed in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
The reports revealed that the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) had allocated a total of 2, 229 Hajj slots to the state out of which more than 600 people who paid their Hajj fares were left in the state.
Some of the affected persons lamented that they deposited their Hajj fares since three years ago but expressed dismay that even with their prepayment, the state and national bodies responsible for the exercise failed them.
They were said to have spent days at camp without food and good care only to be told that their dreams to go to the holy land was not feasible.
But the executive secretary of Kano State Pilgrims Welfare Board Abba Danbatta, blamed NAHCON over the development and apologized to the affected persons.
He said the board had no option since the hajj operations had commenced proper at the holy land but assured that those willing to retrieve their money will be refunded soon.