Niger Cancels Sallah Festivities

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By Laleye Dipo

The Niger State Government has cancelled all festivities associated with the Muslim festival of Eid-el-Kabir. The festival holds Friday.

The festivities include traditional horse riding by monarchs (Durbar), prayers in designated grounds and exchange of visits by the faithful.

A government statement in Minna on Sunday directed that the Eid-el-Kabir prayers should be held only at Jumat mosques.

The statement, signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Matane, said the prayers at the Jumat mosques should be held in conformity with the Covid-19 protocols, including observance of social distancing, hand washing and sanitising of hands.

According to the statement, “While the state governor granted permission for the conduct of Eid congregational prayers in Jmma’at mosques across the state, such would be done under strict compliance to Covid-19 safety protocols.

“The decision to ban the festivities was part of government’s effort to curtail the spread of coronavirus as well as consolidate on the successes achieved in the fight against the pandemic.

“This year’s Eid-el-Kabir has come at a trying moment occasioned by the debilitating effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the world. In order to get rid of the virus completely, Nigerlites must adhere strictly to physical distancing, wearing of mask, regular hand washing with soap and water and application of hand sanitizers, among others.”

Government however urged Muslims to use the period of Eid-el Kabir celebration to “increase supplications and prayers for Almighty Allah to bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic as well as security challenges bedevilling the state and the country at large”.

Government, the statement added, “appreciates the dedication and sacrifice of health workers in the state who are the first line of defence against the coronavirus pandemic” and urged them to sustain the tempo with a view to achieving the set objectives.

The statement commiserated with the families of those who have lost their loved ones as a result of the pandemic and prayed God to grant the departed eternal rest.