As Nigerian Muslims join their counterparts across the world to commemorate this year’s Eid-el-Kabir celebrations, President Muhammadu Buhari declared, yesterday, that national security remains his priority. He, therefore, ordered security agencies to provide maximum security across the nation especially in areas most vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
The President also charged Muslims to display patience, fortitude, tolerance, endurance, patriotism and a greater willingness to make personal sacrifices for the good of all as they celebrate.
A man carries a ram bought to celebrate Eid al-Adha at the market in Kara, Ogun, on September 23, 2015. Nigeria imposed tight movement restrictions in the restive northeast after Boko Haram bombings that killed more than 100 raised fears of fresh attacks over the Eid al-Adha festival. The military said the use of all vehicles would be banned throughout Borno state during the Muslim festival, which is known as Sallah in Nigeria and marked with two days’ public holiday from Thursday.
Similarly, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, were joined by the various state governors as they called for unity, peace, prayer and re-dedication to God among Nigerians. Also, Inspector-General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase has ordered effective and extensive deployment of personnel, including movement of necessary logistics to all nooks and crannies of the country.
The President in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant, Mallam Garba Shehu, assured of the commitment of his administration to provide adequate safety for all Nigerians, stressing that their safety, well-being and progress remained uppermost in his thoughts and actions, and that he will continue to work with all his might to deliver the positive changes in national life which they expect after his election and inauguration as Head of the Government of the Federation.”
He also condoled with families in the North-East, who had lost relatives in recent terrorist attacks, saying that “thoughts and prayers for divine solace are with all those who have been callously plunged into mourning by mindless terrorists, when others are celebrating this year’s Eid-El-Kabir.”
To ensure hitch-free celebrations, President Buhari directed the Armed Forces and national security agencies to provide maximum security across the nation, especially in areas most vulnerable to terrorist attacks, assuring that “the days of Boko Haram are numbered.”
According to him, “Boko Haram’s reign of terror in parts of the country will be finally over very soon as the ongoing military onslaught against the terrorist sect will continue relentlessly until total victory is achieved.”
Also, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has directed Chief Imams of Juma’at mosques across the country to conduct special prayers for unity, peace and progress of the nation.
In a statement signed by the acting secretary, Sultanate Council of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’idu Maccido, the Sultan, who is also the President-General, Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Nigeria (NSCIA), wished Muslims across the world a peaceful and prosperous Eid el-Kabir celebration.
IGP orders massive deployment personnel, logistics
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, has mandated all Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and Sates’ Commissioners of Police to ensure adequate security with standard operation procedures before, during and after the celebrations to secure key and vulnerable points, Eid-praying grounds and other places of worship, including public places and recreation centres.
A statement signed by Acting ACP Olabisi Kolawole said: “The IGP enjoined Nigerians to always report any act of criminality to the police at all times as the Nigeria Police are prepared to take prompt and decisive actions, on behalf of the entire officers and men of the Nigeria Police.
In the sallah message, National Leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP called for prayers for Nigeria’s unity, peaceful co- existence and rededication to God.
In a same vein, Senate President Bukola Saraki; former Senate President David Mark and former National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, stressed the need for peace and unity to reign supreme in the country, just as they called for religious tolerance between Christians and Muslims and members of other religions in the country.
PDP, Govs send goodwill messages
In a goodwill message signed by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the PDP while urging Nigerians to use the occasion of the festival to pray for abiding peace and unity in the country, also pleaded with the citizens, irrespective of religious persuasions, to use the occasion to reflect on the virtue of faith, service and total submission to the will of the Almighty God.
On his part, the Senate President, in a goodwill message signed by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity,Yusuph Olaniyonu, urged Nigerians to make the fear of God the foundation for their lives, saying that the Eid-el-Kabir festival symbolised the fear of Allah and the desire of man to always comply with the wish of his Creator.
According to him, with fear of Allah, mutual respect and love, “we will tolerate one another, work together and be able to harness our abundant resources as a progressive nation. We cannot achieve much with unnecessary factions and disharmony. What Nigerians need now is to move forward with the present change era”.
Saraki, who called on all Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of love, tolerance and mutual respect added that these virtues were the panacea to move the nation forward. He said: “We have herculean tasks to address. Our army of unemployed graduates and youths are hovering on the streets. Insecurity is threatening the peace and social development of our dear nation, quality health care services and economic buoyancy are major challenges that require urgent attention.
“I am very optimistic that with our collective efforts, these challenges are surmountable and we will soon overcome.”
The Senate President, however, used the occasion to call on all arms of government not to rest on their oars in the onerous task of building a formidable nation where all Nigerians will live in peace and prosperity.
The Senate President, who also charged Muslims to continue to pray for the government, the military and other agencies in the fight against insurgency, said that the peace and socio-economic development of the nation remained paramount, just as he pledged the continuous support and encouragement of the Senate in putting Nigeria back on the right track.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, in his message urged Muslims to pray for the progress and success of the ongoing change project of the present administration.
Dogara, in a message signed by his special adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, said: “While festivities go on to mark the day, let us remember to pray for the progress and success of the change agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Nigerians of various faiths must tolerate one another as we all have no other country than Nigeria.
“God made us of different faiths and tongues so that we can use our diversity for the greater good of the society. I want to use this medium to reiterate our resolve and unwavering determination to lead by example and take Nigeria out of its present socio-economic crisis.
“I urge all Muslim faithful to also use the occasion to pray for the success of the ongoing war against terrorism in the North East and for the Nigerian military.”
On its part, the National Assembly will continue to pass people-oriented legislation that will reform and strengthen our institutions for effective service delivery.”
Also, governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have urged Nigerians to, in the spirit of Eid-El-Kabir celebration, reflect on things by putting the interest of Nigeria above personal interests.
According to the governors, who operate under the aegis, PDP Governors Forum, PDPGF, while felicitating with the Muslims, called for the sustenance of the nation’s democracy.
A statement signed by the Co-ordinator of the forum, Osaro Onaiwu read: “The Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum, Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State on behalf of the forum greets and felicitates with all Nigerians of the Islamic faith as we celebrate this year’s Eid-El-Kabir.
“The forum also congratulates all those who have successfully undertaken this year’s Hajj. And as they conclude the rites of the Hajj and prepare to return home, the forum joins them in offering special prayers for greater security, peace, unity and progress in our dear country.
“The forum urges all our political leaders to place the overriding interest of the well-being and progress of our fatherland above all other considerations by being more committed to the sustenance of democracy and political stability which are essential prerequisites for the advancement of good governance, inclusive economic growth and rapid development.
“As the country celebrates the Eid-El-Kabir, let us also rededicate and commit ourselves to the Holy Prophet’s injunctions of piety, honesty, charity and generosity to the less-privileged, impartial leadership and true justice for all.”