- Asks Muslims to avoid evil influence of violence preachers
- Lawan, Govs, Bukola Saraki, Tinubu, APC, PDP, ACF, CAN, others call for sacrifice
- Bauchi police deploy 3,067 personnel to ensure hitch-free celebration
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
As Nigerian Muslims join the rest of the Islamic world to mark Eid-el-Kabir today, political, traditional, and religious leaders in the country have called on the faithful to imbibe the spirit of sacrifice and selfless service, which is the reason for the Eid al-Adha or Eid Qurban, also called the “Festival of the Sacrifice”.
President Muhammadu Buhari saturday in Daura, Katsina State, lamented the scourge of violent extremism in Islamic religion, describing it as the greatest challenge facing the religion today. According to the President, “extremism is like a cancer, which must be detected and destroyed from its early stages of growth,” assuring Nigerians that Boko Haram terrorism, kidnappings and other forms of banditry “would be dealt with uncompromisingly until we see the back of these evils plaguing our country.’’
The president who argued that Islam is a religion of peace, advised fellow Muslims to shun the idea of violent extremism and its evil influence, regretting that the trend is giving Islam a bad name.
He also remarked that the greatest commitment Muslims could give to Islam is to put its good virtues into practice and also make justice and righteousness the guiding principle of their everyday lives.
A statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, quoted Buhari as saying, “Islam is a religion of peace and we should avoid violent extremist ideas that give Islam a wrong name because our conduct leave more lasting positive impressions than what we say by word of mouth.’’
He also said the president regretted that “violent extremism is the greatest challenge facing Islam today,” adding that “the only way we can neutralise its evil influence is to distance ourselves from the activities and teachings of those who preach indiscriminate violence against innocent people, and this flies in the face of the teachings of Islam.’’
According to Shehu, Buhari advised parents to “protect their children from the deadly exposure to violent extremists who manipulate and exploit those children for their own evil agenda.’’
He also said the president blamed the emergence and eventual stay of Boko Haram on the silence Muslim societies whom he said looked the other way when proponents of the terrorist group began to preach violence in the beginning to those he described as gullible followers.
“Boko Haram became a deadly force and a major security scourge because Muslim societies were indifferent from the beginning to the activities of extremist preachers who manipulate innocent and gullible followers,” he further the president.
According to the statement, Buhari added that “extremism is like a cancer, which must be detected and destroyed from its early stages of growth,” assuring Nigerians that Boko Haram terrorism, kidnappings and other forms of banditry “would be dealt with uncompromisingly until we see the back of these evils plaguing our country.’’
It also also said the president noted that despite occasional setbacks in the war against Boko Haram, the terrorists had been largely subdued in a way that they no longer possess the capacity to occupy any part of the country.
Furthermore, Shehu said Buhari disclosed that the armed forces were not only getting more equipped and trained, but also being mobilised to intensify the battle against terrorism in federal government’s bid to ensure the protection of citizens.
“Despite occasional setbacks, the Boko Haram militants have been so militarily weakened and scattered by our Armed Forces that they are no longer in a position to occupy any part of Nigeria, let alone hoist their flag and impose their reign of terror longer than 24 hours.’
“As our armed forces get more equipped and trained, in addition to being more motivated and reinvigorated, this administration is relentlessly committed to protecting Nigerians no matter what it takes to bring a permanent end to this evil,’’ the President further assured Nigerians,” he was further quoted.
The statement added that Buhari urged Muslims to be tolerant and continue to work for peace, unity, national integration, and peaceful coexistence.
Leaders Call for Prayer, Sacrifice for Nation
In separate messages yesterday, the leaders urged Muslims and, indeed, all Nigerians to follow the virtues of sincere submission and unflinching faith, like Prophet Ibrahim, saying this is the whole essence of Eid-el Kabir celebration.
In Bauchi State, the Police said they had deployed 3,067 across the state to maintain security and ensure a celebration devoid of untoward events. The Commissioner of Police, Abu A. Sani, disclosed this in a press statement in Bauchi signed by the Command Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Kamal Datti Abubakar.
The command said it will collaborate with relevant security agencies and other stakeholders to provide security at all Eid praying grounds across the 20 local government areas of the state. Sani warned that the command will deal with hoodlums, political thugs and other elements that might attempt to cause a breakdown of law and order before, during, and after the festive period.
The commissioner wished Muslims in the state a peaceful celebration urged them to report anything suspicious to the police or other relevant security agencies for prompt action.
The Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, in a Sallah message issued on Saturday by his media adviser, Ola Awoniyi, called on Nigerians, particularly the Muslim faithful, as they celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Kabir, to remain steadfast in their commitment to building a great nation.
“I urge all to take inspiration from the exemplary virtues demonstrated by Prophet Ibrahim through his sacrifice, patience, steadfastness, generosity and obedience to Allah’s command and constituted authority,” Lawan, who was in the Holy Land for this year’s Hajj, was quoted as saying.
He reminded Muslims to remember the purpose of the Sallah celebration, which is to commemorate the trials and triumph of Prophet Ibrahim.
Former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, called on Nigerian Muslims to devote their prayers during the Eid-el-Kabir festival to calling on Almighty Allah to end the spate of insecurity in the country and strengthen unity among the citizenry.
A message by his special adviser on media and publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, quoted Saraki as saying, “At a time when we should devote all resources and attention to revival of the economy, rebuilding of infrastructure and provision of social services, all of which will improve the standard of living of the people, the security situation has become a major distraction. The worsening security situation is, in fact, a disincentive to foreign and local investment. That is why at this point, Muslims and Christians should come together to pray for the insurgency in the North-east zone, rising incidents of kidnapping and other security problems to end.”
All Progressives Congress (APC) National Stalwart, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, used the opportunity to congratulate all Muslim faithful across the country and the world on the occasion of the celebration of Eid ul-Adha, urging Nigerians to be ready to make sacrifice for the development of the country in the spirit of the festival.
The former Lagos State governor also prayed for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that the President’s APC-led government has set the country on an irreversible path towards a broad and inclusive political, social and economic development for the benefit of all Nigerians.
In a statement released by his Media Office on Saturday in Lagos and signed by Tunde Rahman, Asiwaju Tinubu said: “To mark the Eid ul-Adha faithfully, we must abide by what it embodies-sacrifice and selflessness-. It is a time for celebration but we must celebrate in the spirit of submission to the will of Allah exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim’s rare example.
“Like Prophet Ibrahim, let us be ready to make sacrifices for the well being of Nigerians and development of the country”.
While observing that Eid ul-Adha should be a day of joy and happiness, Asiwaju Tinubu counselled all Muslims, indeed all Nigerians of faith, to show tenderness and love to fellow Nigerians, their friends and neighbours, remarking that “as we devote ourselves to the will of God, so too should we be devoted to the health and well-being of our fellow man.
“May the joy of Eid ul-Adha be multiplied many folds in our lives and the life of our great nation. May the blessings of Almighty Allah be with us all forever.”
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State, in his goodwill message, called on Muslim faithful to emulate the worthy lifestyle of total obedience, love, justice, and sacrifice, which Prophet Ibrahim, exemplified. A statement by Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Ismail Omipidan, said the governor stated that the observance of such virtues will also help to take the state to the Promised Land.
“The Eid-el Kabir has no doubt presented another opportunity for us as Muslims and, indeed, all Nigerians to reflect on the state of affairs in the country and walk in the right direction to turn the fortunes of the state and the country around,” Oyetola stated. He congratulated the Muslim Ummah, saying, “As Muslims, we must ensure that we make only promises that we know we can keep.”
Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State stated, “There are numerous lessons to be learnt from the story that led to Eid- el-Kabir. After very many years wait by Prophet Ibrahim and his wife, Sarat, to have a child, he also heeded God’s directive to sacrifice the only son to God. It was at this point that God replaced the intended sacrificial son with a ram.
“That was a strong demonstration of patience, perseverance, steadfastness, obedience and commitment. This clear test of faith was what led to the festival we are celebrating today.”
Abiodun urged the faithful to note the lessons from the festival.
“We should all emulate Prophet Ibrahim’s patience, perseverance, steadfastness, obedience and commitment as vital ingredients toward the successful implementation of the ‘Building our Future Together’ Agenda,” he stated.
Felicitating with Muslims on the occasion of Eid-el-Kabir, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State appealed to Muslims to deepen their relationship with Allah and promote a life of sacrifice and love in line with the lessons of the festival. In a statement in Benin, Obaseki urged Muslims to pray for the peace and progress of Nigeria.
He said, “Eid-el-Kabir gives our Muslim brothers and sisters the opportunity to deepen their relationship with Allah, promote a life of sacrifice, charity and love, as exemplified by Prophet Mohammed (SAW). We urge all Muslims in our state and beyond to also use this opportunity to pray for the progress of our country and the peaceful coexistence of Nigerians.”
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State asked Muslims to reflect on the import of the Eid-el-Kabir celebration, which he said was about encouraging piety, sacrifice and love. Makinde said without these virtues, no state or society could advance.
“The significance of the season should be beyond the festivities. The real essence is to encourage piety, total commitment to Allah, self-discipline and sacrifice,” the governor said in a statement by chief press secretary, Taiwo Adisa. He also urged prayers for the stability of the country.
In Enugu, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi enjoined Nigerians to use the occasion to pray for enhanced peace, security and progress of the country.
Ugwuanyi emphasised the significance of Eid-el-Kabir in strengthening the unity of the country, saying Nigerians should embrace the virtues of love, charity and sacrifice as exemplified by the Holy Prophet Mohammed.
“The ultimate goal remains our collective ability to live in peace and harmony in a secure environment, to cherish one another irrespective of religious, ethnic and political differences, for sustainable development of the nation,” the governor said.
Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State called on the people of the state to apply the lessons of Eid-Il-Kabir and work for unity and peaceful coexistence in the state. In his Sallah message, released Saturday in in Lafia, Sule said, “From all indications, progress is coming to Nasarawa State.
“Unity is coming to this state and if we continue, irrespective of our ethnic diversity, religious differences, if we continue to respect one another and live in peace with one another, then we will see a lot of progress and development.”
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu emphasised the benefits of the life of patience and perseverance, which Prophet Ibrahim lived, saying Nigerians should draw lessons from the prophet’s examples by eschewing tendencies that could severe the unity and stability of the country.
Sanwo-Olu said in a statement by his deputy chief press secretary, Gboyega Akosile, “I join Muslim faithful across the country to share in the felicity of the Eid al-Adha, which comes with significant lessons for mankind. This symbolic Islamic festival is a constant reminder to us that there will always be great rewards when we have abiding faith and patience in trying periods; persistence in prayers and tenacity in our belief.
“It also reminds us of the sacrifice we are expected to make not only for the purpose of spiritual fulfillment, but also for the progress of mankind and development of our society. Development and progress can only be achieved in an atmosphere in which unity, peace and mutual respect reign supreme. We must, therefore, eschew tendencies that can further divide us as a people.”
The Kaduna State chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) called on Christians and Muslims to work together to promote peace in the country. The state chairman of CAN, Rev. Joseph Hayab, in a statement felicitating with Muslims on Eid-el -Kabir said, “This festival teaches us to make sacrifice for the good of all humanity and for the glory of God Almighty.
”May we make sacrifices that will help take our country out of her present challenges into a better and prosperous nation.
“We must work together to attain sustainable peace,, not coercive peace or peace from pretense.”
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) urged Muslims to pray for the Nigeria to overcome the economic hardship and security challenges currently facing the country. ACF said the northern youth should shun calls for protest against the federal government.
In a goodwill message issued on Saturday to mark Eid-el- Kabir celebrations, the forum said it was time for the Muslim community and Nigerians to fervently pray for peace, stability, prosperity and avoid acts that undermine the country.
The message by National Publicity Secretary of the ACF, Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim, said, “The Forum urges all Nigerians to be patient and continue to have hope in our country in spite of our current security and socioeconomic economic challenges. With commitment and resilience, we shall overcome.
“We urge all Nigerians particularly politicians to avoid unnecessary divisive acts that are capable of jeopardising our democracy and peaceful coexistence as a nation.
“In the same vein, ACF appeals to the youths to avail themselves of empowerment opportunities offered by governments, individuals and non-governmental organisations that add value to themselves and to the communities rather than take to criminal acts that come with poverty, unemployment and frustrations.”
APC, PDP Congratulate Muslims, Urge Citizens to Imbibe Selflessness, Shun Division
The two main political parties in the country sent felicitations to Nigerian Muslims on the occasion of Eid ul-Adha, charging citizens to emphasise things that unite and shun divisive tendencies.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) said Sallah was a reminder to Nigerians to make individual and collective sacrifices for the well-being, unity, peace and development of the country.
“We must therefore shun the disruptive and divisive utterances and actions emanating from some unpatriotic quarters lately,” Issa-Onilu stated.
APC advised Nigerians to imbibe the lessons of the important Islamic festival, which signifies sacrifice and fulfillment of promise as demonstrated by Prophet Ibrahim.
The party said, “As we celebrate the Sallah feast with family, friends and loved ones, Muslim faithful and indeed all Nigerians are implored to show love to neighbours and cater for the less privileged around us.
“In our private capacity, official duties, wherever we find ourselves, we must all exhibit the pan-Nigerian spirit. We should embrace our country’s diversity and harness it for good. We must see every Nigerian as a brother. We should take advantage of his strength, help him with his weakness. That is the only way we can grow as a country.”
In its own message, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said Nigerians should imbibe the life of total trust in the Almighty God in all spheres of life. PDP reminded leaders from all walks of life that their positions were given to them by God for service to humanity, saying they must give account.
In a statement by PDP National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said Eid el Kabir offered Nigerians great lessons on selflessness and absolute trust in God, as exemplified by the life of Prophet Ibrahim.
PDP also urged prayers and support for the troops making sacrifices to protect the country. “Nigerians should always remember the sacrifices of our fallen heroes by reaching out to their families at this trying times,” the party said.