Olawale Olaleye in Lagos and Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, saturday, felicitated with Muslim faithful in Nigeria on the occasion of eid-el-fitri, the end of Ramadan fast, which is being marked today.
He used the occasion to preach peace and unity in the country, and warned against reckless statements capable of causing disaffection in the country.
The president, in his message made available to journalists by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja, said he was grateful to God for the successful completion of the Ramadan fast and prayed for the long lasting effect of Ramadan lessons, urging the citizens to live in unity and peace.
Today was declared as the eid-el-fitri following the sighting of the moon yesterday in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Malaysia and some other Arab countries.
Although India, Pakistan and Bangladesh might be sighting the moon on Sunday, according to an Aljazeera report, they commenced Ramadan on May 28, and as a result, Sunday would be the 29th of Ramadan for them.
But Turkey and Muslim communities in North America, Europe and Australia had previously announced they would celebrate Eid al-Fitr from Sunday June 25, based on astronomical calculations.
Eid al-Fitr simply refers to â€œfestival of breaking the fastâ€, marking the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan. It is, therefore, an official holiday in all Muslim-majority countries across the world.
Buhari, who spoke from London, the United Kingdom, where he is presently observing his medical checkup, noted that, “I am immensely grateful to God for his mercy in guiding us successfully to conclude another Ramadan fast. My greetings to all Nigerian Muslims and our brother Christians on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr! May the lessons of Ramadan namely piety, self-denial, prayers and generosity to the poor and needy be with us for all time.
“I, again, appeal to all Nigerians to avoid reckless statements or actions against our fellow countrymen. We should all resolve to live in peace and unity in our great country, which is the envy of many less endowed nations,” he said.
President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, while congratulating Muslim faithful on the successful completion of Ramadan, urged all Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of tolerance, peace, patriotism and love for one another as a way of building a strong and united nation.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki, who also spoke from Saudi Arabia, where he had been to observe the lesser hajj for the last ten days of Ramadan, said only tolerance, stronger sense of patriotism and love for one another will help the country sail through the present multiple agitations confronting her.
“We should put into practice the lessons of tolerance, perseverance, and love for our neighbours that we learnt during the Ramadan period to overcome the multiple agitations threatening the corporate existence of our country,”
On his part, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, also urged religious leaders to continue to preach and promote the virtues of unity, love and peaceful co-existence for Nigeria to attain greatness.
In a statement yesterday, Dogara urged Nigerians to eschew divisive and hate tendencies, adding that Nigerians must learn to live in harmony, tolerate one another and see the nationâ€™s diversity as a source of strength.
â€œFor Nigeria to attain greatness and fulfill its potential, we must regard our diversity as a source of strength and continue to promote and strengthen the unity, peace and progress of the country at all times,â€™â€™ the Speaker said.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, while also declaring today as Eid-el-Fitr festival after he had announced the sighting of the new moon of Shawwal in a broadcast in his palace in Sokoto last night, said the new moon was sighted in parts of Kaduna, Katsina, Borno, Adamawa and Sokoto States.
â€œIn accordance with Islamic law, we have the honour and pleasure to announce that today, Saturday, the 29th Day of Ramadan, 1438 AH, which is equivalent to June 24, 2017, has marked the end of Ramadan and the beginning of the new month of Shawwal.â€
He said reliable reports of moon sighting were received from Muslim leaders and religious organisations across the country, which were duly verified and authenticated by the national moon sighting committee.
â€œConsequent upon this, tomorrow, Sunday, the 25th Day of June, 2017, becomes the first day of shawwal, 1438 AH and is therefore declared the Sallah day for 2017 Eid-el-Fitr”, he said.
He therefore urged the Muslims to sustain their prayers for President Buhari, other leaders, as well as for sustainable peace and unity in Nigeria and beyond. He also called on Nigerians to continue to live in peace with one another irrespective of ethnic and religious differences.