Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and members of his family on Sunday observed the Eid-El-Fitr prayer inside the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock, in Abuja.
He held a private prayer session at the presidential quarters in line with the protocol against mass gathering issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari holds private Eid el-Fitr prayers with First Lady @aishambuhari and other family members at the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock, in Abuja. #EidMubarak pic.twitter.com/3HWuH7Vnqq
— The Daily Leaks (@TheDailyLeaks) May 24, 2020
The protocol of social distancing had earlier been observed during the two-raka’at prayer.
President Buhari had on May 22 pledged to conduct his Eid prayers with his family at home as directed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, who is also the President General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI),
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The President, in a statement released by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, in Abuja on Friday, said his decision to observe the Eid prayer at home was also in observance of the lockdown measures in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, put in place “to save lives and protect people from all dangers.”
Shehu, in the statement, said the president had cancelled the annual traditional Sallah homage being embarked upon by residents of the FCT led by the FCT Minister, to the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
”Further to this, the President who has traditionally shared the joyous moment with top government officials, political leaders, community heads, Muslim and Christian religious leaders and children, will not be receiving these homages in a bid to stop the coronavirus from further spreading,” he added.
It would be recalled that President Buhari had in his this year’s Sallah message released on Friday urged Muslims to keep their spirits up in spite of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to him, the deadly virus which caught the world off guard, and has put a damper on what would otherwise have been ”a time of celebration for the Muslim faithful to mark the end of the Ramadan fasting period.”
The President said, “for the first time in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the people’s spiritual, social and economic lives.
”This year’s fasting period was particularly challenging for Muslims because they had to forgo many important aspects of their daily worship, including the routine congregations for prayer and the recitation and interpretation of the Holy Qur’an as well as traveling for the lesser pilgrimage to Makkah.
“It is not easy to give up many of these important duties and activities, but it became imperative to do so in order to control or limit the spread of this deadly disease.”
Meanwhile, President Buhari has urged Muslims to keep their spirits high, in spite of the Coronavirus pandemic, which has placed a heavy toll on the people’s spiritual, and socio-economic lives.
In his Sallah message to Muslims on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr, the President notes that for the first time in recent years, the pandemic has put a damper on what would otherwise have been a time of celebration for Muslim faithful to mark the end of the Ramadan Fast.
According to President Buhari, this year’s fasting period has been particularly challenging for Muslims, who had to forego the usual congregational prayers and the recitation and interpretation of the Glorious Qur’an, as well as the performance of the Lesser Hajj, the Umrah.
While he notes the difficulty in giving up many of these spiritual obligations, President Buhari says the temporary ban on gatherings is imperative to limiting the spread of the disease.
He commends Nigerians for their sacrifices and co-operation in the enforcement of the social distancing guidelines, despite the inconveniences the tough measures imposed have brought on them.
President Buhari enjoins the citizenry to sustain their co-operation as no government will intentionally impose tough and demanding measures on its citizens if it has alternative choices.
The President says he is aware that the prolonged lockdown measures have badly affected businesses and other means of livelihood of Nigerians, assuring, however, that the measures will be reviewed periodically to ease the increasing hardship on the people.
He encourages well-to-do citizens to continue helping their needy neighbours with the token they have to help Nigeria come out of the pandemic stronger and more united.
President Buhari calls on Muslims to consider this year’s Eid event as an occasion for sober reflection rather than celebration, due to the long shadows of gloom that the pandemic has cast on people’s lives.
He prays Allah to ease the hardship among the people as they struggle hard to flatten the curve, while wishing all Nigerians Eid Mubarak.