President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that the forthcoming Eid celebrations in the country should be limited.
As Muslims in Nigeria join fellow worshippers across the world in preparation of the Eid-el-Fitr – a day that is celebrated to mark the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting, he explained that the directive became necessary due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement on Sunday in Abuja, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, noted that President Buhari would not be travelling to his country home in Daura, Katsina State.
Rather, he revealed that the President would stay behind at the Presidential Villa in Abuja to celebrate the end of this year’s Ramadan.
Shehu, however, stated that the celebration would be held low-key and President Buhari would not welcome any Sallah homage as it was the usual practice.
“The President, first family, his personal aides, members of cabinet, and service chiefs who choose to remain in Abuja will congregate in full compliance with COVID-19 protocols at the forecourt of the Presidential Villa to observe the Eid prayers,” he said.
The presidential aide added, “Time fixed for the prayer is 9am. Thereafter, there will be no traditional Sallah homage to the President by religious, community, and political leaders.
“As was the case last year, the President encourages such leaders to be content with modest celebrations at home in view of the pandemic.”
President Buhari thanked the Ulama – also known as Islamic clerics – and all other religious (Muslim and Christian) leaders who have continued to pray for the wellbeing of the nation and its people.
He also used the opportunity of the occasion to condole with all those who have lost family members due to what he described as the ‘madness’ going on in parts of the country.
The President called on all local leaders to talk to their youths and warn them against being used to incite and foment violence.
“If we attack institutions guarding us, who will protect us in future emergencies?” he was quoted as saying in the statement.