Muslims Set for Low-key Sallah Celebration

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  •  Security beefed up nationwide

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Muslim faithful nationwide are set for a low-key Eid el Kabir celebration monday, no thanks to the harsh economic situation.

Just as the Islamic adherents are putting finishing touches to their arrangements, the security agencies have said there is adequate preparation to keep the believers safe and secure during the Sallah celebration in their respective states.

Some Muslims who spoke in an interview with THISDAY lamented that because of the prevailing hardship in the country, they could not afford to buy rams to perform the religious rites.

Besides, they noted the high cost of foodstuff and other basic necessities which they said were beyond their reach.

THISDAY findings along Warf Road, Police College Road and Kabala Doki, all within Kaduna metropolis revealed that a ram costs between N40,000 to N150,000 depending on the size.

At Dei-Dei, the popular cattle market, along Kaduna express road in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Chairman of the Market, simply referred to as Mallam Salisu, said in the history of the market, it had never witnessed such an insignificant low turnout.

The highest cost for the biggest ram goes for N150,000, while the smallest goes for about N30,000, depending on the seller. He added that the politicians who used to flood the market during the Sallah period are nowhere to be found.

While attributing the low patronage to the general downturn in the economy.

Ram sellers in Taraba are currently groaning due to low patronage occasioned by the recess in the nation’s economy.

A ram dealer in Jalingo who spoke to THISDAY at the Jalingo abattoir said sales has been generally low this year unlike previous years stressing that many people now breed rams and goats for their personal use.

“Market has been generally dull this year and one of the reasons is that many people, bred rams and goats which they use for Sallah though money is not much in circulation.”

In Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, the military have said they would allow free movement during this year’s Eid El Kabir celebration.

But the military authorities, however, warned the residents of the restive state to be watchful and lawful during the celebration.

A statement by the spokesman of the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army Maimalari Cantonment Maiduguri, Major Salisu Ibrahim on Saturday read that the general public particularly the good people of Borno State should have a happy Eid el Kabir.

The statement also advised religious leaders to sensitise their followers, to remain law abiding and not to engage in acts that could disrupt theSallah celebrations.

It enjoined the people of the state to report any suspicious persons or activities to security agencies.

In the statement, the people were reassured of the military’s commitment to ensure hitch free Sallah celebrations in the state.

Similarly, security agencies in Kano have been reinvigorated to ensure crime-free Sallah celebrations.

A press statement signed by the spokesman of the police in Kano, DSP Magaji Musa Majia, said covert and overt operatives have been deployed to strategic places to maintain orderliness and peaceful celebration.

The statement also advised people wishing to spend time at recreational centres, as well as other places during the celebrations to be extra-vigilant by taking good cognisance of people, as well as objects around them.

Similarly, the statement advised Muslim faithful trooping to Eid praying grounds to only be armed with their praying mats.

THISDAY observed that the Police Command had embarked on motorised patrol of the metropolis, just as police presence is noticeable at strategic locations with random stop and search carried out on motorists in and out of the metropolis.

Also, the Kaduna State Police Command has beefed up security ahead of the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations on Monday. Already several police checkpoints have been mounted at strategic locations within Kaduna metropolis.

Spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command, Usman Aliyu, who disclosed this in an interview, said the command had taken all security measures to ensure prompt response to distress calls whenever they arise.

He warned that the Police would deal ruthlessly with anyone who attempts to disrupt the peace of the state and urged members of the public to be security conscious.

Besides, security agencies in Taraba State could also be said to be prepared to ensure the forthcoming Sallah celebration is observed without security breaches. To ensure a hitch free celebration, the state police command has drawn an operational order that would be followed strictly by the officers and men of the command across the 16 local government councils of the state.

Highlighting the operational order, which has since been in force, the state Commissioner of Police, Yakubu Y. Babas, said the show of force carried out yesterday in conjunction with the Army, Civil Defence corps and the DSS was part of the security arrangements put in place to guarantee a hitch-free Sallah celebrations.

Then today, being eve of Sallah, according to the CP, all criminal hideouts within and outside the state capital would be raided by men of the command with a view to preventing the execution of criminal plans.

According to Babas, “We have identified all the criminal hideouts where criminal elements gather to plan and strategise before carrying out operations. We are going to ensure that we take as many of them out of circulation before the D day”, he stated.

Similarly tomorrow, being Sallah day, Babas disclosed that police will be everywhere within the state capital particularly worship centres while the routine patrol is being intensified.

Also, to ensure a crime-free Sallah celebration in Lagos State, over 200 policemen and soldiers, as well as over 100 patrol vans were yesterday deployed by the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, Fatai Owoseni, in a show of force round the metropolis.

Led by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command DCP Titilayo Kayode, accompanied by the Chief Superintendent of Police, Department of Operations (Baker), CSP Waheed Ayilara, the show of force kicked off from the command headquarters in Ikeja.

The show of force saw police operatives and their patrol vehicles drawn from virtually all area commands and police divisions across the state.

Also in the entourage were the soldiers of the Nigerian Army (NA), operating under the aegis of the Operation Mesa (OP MESA), to depict the interagency cooperation between the policemen and its sister agencies.

The convoy kicked off from Ikeja and went to Ipaja, Abule Egba before dovetailing to the Abattoir in Agege, to check the situation report of the market after the clash between Hausa’s and Fulani’s, which claimed lives.

Meanwhile, the other patrol vans were broken up in syndicates under a team leader and deployed to other parts of the state, unanimously signaling that readiness of the police command to counter any threat to security.

THISDAY gathered that these troops are part of those deployed to ensure a smooth Sallah celebration.

Likewise, in Niger State rams are now out of reach of the ordinary faithful.

In Niger State, Police have said it deployed over 500 of their men to strategic locations in the 25 local government areas of the state to maintain law and order ‘before, during and after the Eid el Kabir festival.

The Police deployed their men to the markets, highways and other soft targets that could be easily attacked during the period.

The Police also said that it had set up what it called ‘a safer high way patrol team’ to ensure those traveling for Sallah were not robbed, attacked or kidnapped on the roads.

According to the state police command Public Relations Officer DSP Bala Elikana, who spoke to THISDAY, the anti-bomb unit had also been put on red alert, ‘they sweep and comb all the Eid prayer ground before the commencement of prayers.

In addition, the Adamawa state police command has said it was fully prepared to provide security to all the worship centres across the state.

The spokesman of the police, Abubakar Othman, who disclosed this yesterday in Yola, called on traders and sellers to stay 500 metres away from all the worship centres and also be security conscious to report any strange movements to the security agencies in the state.

For the residents of Ondo State, the security and traffic law enforcement agencies have mobilised men and equipment to ensure safety of their lives and properties during the celebration of the Eid -El- Kabir.

In an interview with THISDAY, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) for Ondo State Command, Mr. Femi Joseph, said the police usually had Operational Order for a period like the one at hand.

Joseph, who said the command had mapped out strategies against any untoward event, had placed all the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) on red alert while all the Area Commanders have also taken appropriate actions on the matter.

The PPRO said apart from the DPOs that had been alerted on what to do, standby men had been arranged at the Police Headquarters to respond appropriately if the need arises.

He also stated that the force Bomb Disposal Unit had been mobilised and deployed to be at various praying grounds to perform their functions.

Security assurance has also been given the people of Anambra State as the commissioner of police, Mr. Sam Okaula, told THISDAY in Awka that the police had put in place mechanisms on ground to ensure there was no breakdown of law and order during the Sallah festivities.

The commissioner who spoke on the heels of speculations of possible attack by herdsmen in the state during the period said that though it was a rumour but that the state command was equal to the task.

In the same vein, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 2 Command Lagos, which covers Ogun State, AIG Abdulmajid Ali, has directed the Commissioner of Police in state to deploy sufficient number of officers and men for special duties during the Eid el Kabir festival to boost visibility policing, which will bring relief to the general public particularly fun seekers.

The police boss has ordered the deployment of more than 200 personnel of the zonal command headquarters to Lagos and Ogun commands respectively on special duty for the Sallah celebration.

According to the Zone 2 Police Public Relations Officer, SP Muyiwa Adejobi, the AIG has also mandated all heads of police formations and sectional heads within the zone to step up anti-crime strategies before, during and after the Eid el Kabir.

He stated that the AIG Zone 2 emphasised on the need to police the major highways within the zone for protection and safety of road users and commuters as many hoodlums might likely take the advantage of heavy flow of traffic and movements of people during the festive period.