President Muhammadu Buhari, ex Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami and the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello have sent greetings to Nigerian Muslims as they celebrate Eid-el-Kabir tomorrow, July 30.
In his message, President Buhari appealed to Nigerians to continue to exercise patience and understanding over the inconveniences created by the precautionary measures taken for Covid-19, especially the regulations on places of worship.
President Buhari said that the outbreak of coronavirus has made it difficult for people to gather in places of worship as they are used to, urging worshipers to follow the guidelines for the safety of their lives, and loved ones.
“The coronavirus has had devastating adverse impacts on our social, economic and spiritual lives.
“The preventive guidelines we have introduced to contain the spread of this deadly disease have unfortunately limited people’s freedom to gather and worship in large numbers in Mosques and Churches.
“Every measure that has been introduced to contain this disease may have its unintended consequences on the daily lives of our people, and I, therefore, call on Muslims and other faiths to continue to show more understanding with the government as we take correct steps to protect our people through the social distancing.
“No elected government would intentionally take away its people’s religious freedom by limiting the number of people that will gather in worship centres at thesame time.
“These guidelines are dictated by necessity in order to safeguard public health and should therefore not be perceived as infringement on people’s right to worship.’’
The President commended sacrifices of Muslims and Christians in abiding by the COVID-19 guidelines for the good of society, assuring that: “On our own part, we shall continue to provide economic reliefs to the people to minimize the unintended hardships these guidelines have inflicted.’’
He reminded worshippers that COVID-19 is worldwide affliction with Churches and Mosques closed around the world and social distancing imposed to safeguard public health.
While wishing Muslims a happy celebration, the President called on worshipers not to forget the symbolic significance of the sacrifices of the Eidel Kabir.
“Muslims should imbibe the noble virtues of our great prophets in order to establish closer connectivity between religious teachings and practice
“We can create the greatest impact by putting into practice the noble teachings of our religion. In whatever we do in life, we must put the fear of God in our daily activities in order to make our society better.’’
The President reminded the people of his efforts to root out corruption in the country, stating that the efforts had so far brought a lot of changes in country’s polity and appealed for support and understanding as investigations are carried out into both legacy
That was even as ex Vice President Atiku noted that for the first time in living memory, Muslims in our country fasted this year without spiritual acts of worship that accompany the Holy Month of Ramadan, and had Eid celebration devoid of the mandatory congressional prayers. Historically too, this would be the fourth time in all time that the holy pilgrimage of Hajj would suffer restrictions.
According to him, the essence of the Eid el Kabir festivities is a reminder of a life of service as exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and encouraged by Prophet Muhammed (SAW).
“In this season of a virus pandemic, we should acknowledge that part of the sacrifices required of us is adherence to instructions and protocols towards the containment of the spread of the corona virus.
“In the last four months or so, we have been united in our common resolve to beat this disruptor to our lives. We have drawn strength from one another. We have been guided by the dictum that no man/woman is an island, and that a threat to one is a threat to all. Above all, love has in this season of great uncertainty, broken down the walls of divisions that seek to compromise our resolve to stand united.
“And, as Muslims in Nigeria celebrate Eid el Kabir Sallah, it is my hope that we will continue to pray for the country and work assiduously for the promotion of love, mutual respect, peace and tolerance in order to build a stronger and more united country.”
Also, in his Sallah message, Asiwaju Tinubu joined Nigerian Muslims and Muslims all over the world in observance of Eid-el-Kabir.
He said that this year’s observance comes at a unique moment in history where the normal activities of society have been upset and altered by the threat of deadly sickness.
“This sickness has touched Muslim, Christian as well as those who profess no religion at all. It has descended on both the high and the not-so-high. “We have lost friends and loved ones. Too many people have died and far too many good people are still suffering because of the economic consequences of this scourge.
“Thus, this Eid shall not be a moment of vigorouscelebration simply because it is our tradition to do so. The pressing weight of events compels us to rekindle in ourselves a greater commitment to the true spirit and reason for this holy observance.
“Coming as the end of religious activities spanning the first ten days of the Islamic Month of DhulHijjah, Eid-el-Kabirenjoins us as Muslims to show mercy and compassion to our fellowhuman beings.Given the challenges that have come this year, there is no time like the present to sow brotherly love and kindness.
“We thank Almighty Allah that he has given us the breath of life and allowed us to keep it. This means that we should be grateful for life and, in being so, that we should strive to live according to His munificent purposeas exemplified in the miraculous preservation of Prophet Ismail’s life.”
The Executive Chairman of FIRS, Nami, said also that his organization joined the rest of the country to felicitate with Muslims nationwide, adding: “we thank the Almighty God for sparing our lives to witness yet another Sallah festival especially in this year that has been very difficult for individuals and businesses.
“Nonetheless, the Service will continue to identify with the challenges of the times, which the taxpayers are going through.
“In furtherance of this, and, in addition to a number of COVID-19 palliatives already in place, as well as in the spirit of this Eid celebration, we hereby grant a further one-week extension from the 31st July 2020 deadline for Companies with December accounting year end to file their Year 2020 annual Income Tax Returns.”
Similarly, the FCT minister, Muhammad Musa Bello congratulated the Muslim faithful on the celebration of Eid-el-Kabir and advised them to use the occasion to offer supplication to Almighty Allah (SWT) for a quick end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister reminded the Muslim Ummah that the celebration of Eid-el-Kabir is significant because it is a festival of sharing and caring for the less fortunate members of the society and called on them to use the occasion to reach out to the needy, especially those who have been negatively impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Musa Bello also called on residents not to be complacent about COVID-19 as it still remains a highly infectious and deadly disease adding that the protocols of facial coverings, physical distancing and regular hand washing have been put in place to safe-guard against contracting the virus.
“Non-adherence to these basic protocols, the Minister continued, only puts more people at risk, increases the pressure on the economy and prolongs return to normal life.”
The Minister used the occasion to express his appreciation on behalf of the FCTA and residents of the FCT, to all health and other essential workers in the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.
He said that the FCTA and many residents of the city understand and appreciate the enormity of the sacrifices they are making in the course of the fight against the disease.