By Shola Adewunmi
The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has disclosed that he will be observing the Islamic Ramadan prayers, Eid, at home with his family and devoid of a crowd of well-wishers, saying that the scaled-down celebrations were aimed at curtailing possible spread of the deadly coronavirus within the nation.
He said the decision was in obedience to the lockdown instituted in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and that it was also in adherence to the directives of respected Islamic leaders who had ordered the suspension of the usual Eid congregational prayers after due consideration of the coronavirus health crisis with which Nigeria was faced.
Buhari, in a statement released on Friday, stated that he would act in compliance with measures that had been implemented to save lives and protect people from danger and that the Eid prayers and celebrations would be conducted in his home and among immediate family members only.
He recalled that the Sultan of Sokoto, who also doubles as the President-General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Sa’ad Abubakar III had recently lent his voice to that of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, calling for a suspension of congregational prayers across the country in a bid to curb large gatherings which could be detrimental to Nigeria’s fight against the deadly pandemic.
The president reiterated that he would act in accordance with the directives, and added that the socialization which was usually associated with the Eid season would also be discouraged as he would not be entertaining visits by anyone outside his immediate family circle.
“President Muhammadu Buhari will be conducting his Eid prayers with his family at home. This is in observance of the lockdown measures in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and is also in line with the directive of the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III suspending Eid congregational prayers across the country,”
“Further to this, the President who has traditionally shared the joyous moment with top Govt officials, political leaders, community heads, Muslim & Christian religious leaders & children, will not be receiving these homages in a bid to stop the coronavirus from further spreading”.