President Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed that he would not be entertaining any visitors, particularly hosting the usual Sallah homage by religious and community leaders in the Federal Capital Territory and other festivity gatherings during Eid-el-fitri Festival.
He indicated that the ban had become imperative to mitigate spread of coronavirus second wave in the country and in line with the prevailing protocol put in place by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
Buhari urged Nigerians to celebrate the festival used to mark the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting, in moderation due to the ravaging pandemic with many countries battling its third wave.
Through a statement on Sunday by his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, Buhari said that in compliance with the protocol, he alongside First Family, his personal aides, members of cabinet and Service Chiefs who choose to remain in Abuja would congregate in full compliance with COVID-19 protocols at the forecourt of the Presidential Villa to observe the Eid prayers.
According to him, there will be no traditional Sallah homage to the president by religious, community and political leaders. As was the case last year, the President encourages such leaders to be content with modest celebrations at home in view of the pandemic.
“President Buhari specially thanks the Ulama (Islamic Clerics) and all other religious (Muslim, Christian) leaders who continue to pray for the wellbeing of the nation and its people.
“The President, in addition, takes this opportunity to condole with all who lost family members due to what he described as the ‘madness’ going on in parts of the country.
“The President calls on all local leaders to talk to their youths and warn them against being used to incite and foment violence.
“If we attack institutions guarding us,” the President wonders, “who will protect us in future emergencies?”
Meanwhile, Buhari had earlier joined worshippers for the closing session of the Tafsir at the State House Mosque where prayers were said for Allah’s protection to be upon the nation, its people and the leaders.
The president and worshippers listened to the final round of the daily interpretation of the Quran delivered by the Chief Imam, Sheikh Abdulwahid Sulaiman, which they had done throughout the fasting period.
During the lecture, the Imam reviewed the virtues of the Ramadan and prayed against disunity, unrest, anger and crimes. He also prayed to God for peace, harmony and security for the nation and its people.
In a short sermon to commemorate the end of the exercise, Sheikh Abdulwahid said that “we desperately need God’s peace in view of the challenges facing the nation and urged all citizens to do justice to one another and seek restoration through repentance, humility and love.”