President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, urged Nigerians to continue to exercise patience in the face of inconveniences created by enforced measures to curtail COVID-19, especially at places of worship.
Buhari made the call in his Sallah message to Muslims to commemorate Eid-el-Kabir.
The message came just as former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, urged Muslims to pray for the unity, development and security of Nigeria.
Buhari noted that the outbreak of coronavirus had made it difficult for people to gather in places of worship.
“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 others to continue to show more understanding with the government as we take correct steps to protect our people through social distancing.”
He commended Muslims and Christians for observing the guidelines.
He added, “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.’’
Saraki, in a statement issued by his media office in Abuja yesterday, advised Muslims to appreciate that the nation faced many challenges and threat against her unity and progress. He urged citizens to rededicate themselves physically, spiritually and intellectually to the cause of saving and serving the country.
“There is no time we need to demonstrate all the lessons of Eid-el-Adha more than now. Apart from the economic and security problems, the unique challenges imposed on our environment by the COVID-19 pandemic demand that we all work together to reduce the spread of the virus, maintain peace in our society and help to channel the lean resources of state to funding of priority issues.
“It is therefore important for all of us to avoid huge gatherings and other conduct which may lead to the spread of COVID-19. We should also stick to the use of face masks, wash our hands from time to time, apply hand sanitisers and maintain physical distance. This is important to avert a situation where after Sallah, there would be increased cases of people infected with the virus,” he stated.
In his Sallah message to Muslims, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar yesterday reminded Nigerians that this would be the fourth time that the holy pilgrimage of Hajj would suffer restrictions. He noted that, although the restrictions were being eased, “We are not yet there. There’s still work to be done to ensure that we contain the spread of this virulent disease and rebuild our economic and social life post COVID-19.”
According to Atiku, “it is important that we continue to priotise personal hygiene of washing our hands, using face masks, avoiding crowded places and observing social distancing. 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.”
The Presidential candidate of the peoples democratic party (PDP) in the 2019 elections said that Nigerians, in the last four months, had been united in their common resolve to beat the “disruptor. We have drawn strength from one another. We have been guided by the dictum that no man or 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.”
Atiku said it was incumbent on all political leaders to increase their connectivity with the ordinary people without which it might be “difficult to assess the success or failure of given policies.”