President Muhammadu Buhari has said this year’s Eid-el-Fitr event should be one of sober reflection by Muslims instead of the celebrations associated with it due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
President Buhari stated this in his Eid-el-Fitr message to Muslims, according to a statement issued by Garba Shehu, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, on Saturday.
The president admitted that the coronavirus caught the world off guard and dampened what would otherwise have been a time of celebration for the Muslim faithful who are marking the end of the Ramadan fasting period.
The statement read: “The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the people’s spiritual, social and economic lives.
“This year’s fasting period was particularly challenging for Muslims because they had to forgo many important aspects of their daily worship, including the routine congregations for prayer and the recitation and interpretation of the Holy Qur’an as well as travelling for the lesser pilgrimage to Makkah.
“It is not easy to give up many of these important duties and activities, but it became imperative to do so in order to control or limit the spread of this deadly disease.”
President Buhari, however, commended and urged Muslims and all Nigerians to keep their spirits up in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He explained that the government had to limit religious activities out of necessity to curb the spread of the disease in Nigeria.
“Let me use this opportunity to commend the sacrifices of both Muslims and Christians for their cooperation in the enforcement of the social distancing guidelines.
“I am well aware of the inconveniences these tough measures have brought on the lives of Nigerians, including limiting religious activities and gatherings in large numbers.
“No government would intentionally impose these tough and demanding measures on its citizens if it had a choice,” the statement read.
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President Buhari also appealed to other Nigerians “whose businesses and means of livelihoods were badly affected by the prolonged lockdown measures for their understanding and cooperation”.
He assured Nigerians that the lockdown measures would not go on longer than necessary as it “would be reviewed from time to time to ease the increasing hardships on the people”.
He also urged people with means to continue helping their neighbours and the less well-to-do “so that we can all come out of this pandemic stronger and more united.
Wishing all Nigerians “Eid Mubarak”, the president prayed that Allah eases the hardship among the people as the country struggles to flatten the COVID-19 curve.