President Muhammadu Buhari has called for prayers against the tragic incidents of kidnapping and banditry and the desperate quest for political power expressed through blackmail against the existence of Nigeria as a united entity.
He made the call in a goodwill message to all Nigerians and Muslims across the globe as they mark the Eid-el- Fitr following the completion of a month of fasting.
The president in the message which he personally signed called for unity and solidarity among all citizens particularly at a time when the country was faced with multiple challenges.
He said the problems could be surmounted when Nigerians coalesce as one. President Buhari said: “On this blessed occasion, I wish that the Eid festival brings with it peace, safety, security, brotherhood and love amongst all.
“Unity and solidarity among all citizens, Muslims and Christians are imperative especially at a time when our country is faced with multiple challenges which are surmountable only when we come together as one.
“It is important that we remember how we share, through our faiths, common bonds that should serve to unite us and not allow ourselves to succumb to those who seek to divide us, using our two great religions, for their own selfish advantages.
“We should jointly pray against the tragic incidents of kidnapping and banditry and the desperate quest for political power expressed through blackmail against the existence of our country as a united entity.
“We must resist the temptation to retreat into our communities. I urge our political and religious leaders as well as traditional rulers to encourage our citizens to turn towards one another in love and compassion,” the president said.
President Buhari, in a statement released yesterday by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, also urged Nigerians to continue to observe all COVID-19 prevention measures and celebrate responsibly during the holidays.
Lawan, Gbajabiamila call for unity
Speaking on the Eid-el-Fitr festival, Senate President Ahmad Lawan urged the Muslim faithful and other Nigerians to pray for peace, unity and progress of the country.
According to him, “Because of the current security and economic challenges, our country Nigeria needs the prayers of every patriot now more than ever before to achieve the peace, unity and progress that were the dreams of the founding fathers.
“I assure us that the government, including the National Assembly, will not waiver in its determination to provide robust security in the country that guarantees every law-abiding citizen the liberty to live in peace and pursue their legitimate businesses anywhere they choose.”
Also, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and his deputy, Ahmed Idris Wase called on Muslims to use the Eid-el-Fitr period to pray for peace and work towards mutual coexistence among Nigerians.
Gbajabiamila said Nigeria was facing challenges at the moment. “We should pray to our Creator for solutions even as leaders try their best to address the issues.”
On his part, Wase urged Muslims to reflect on their spiritual lives as individuals and how they could contribute more meaningfully towards the unity, stability and progress of Nigeria.
Govs pray for peace
The Northern Governors Forum (NGF) has called on the Muslim Ummah to make prayers the pivot of this year’s Eid-el-Fitr celebration in order to foster unity, peace and progress of the nation.
Chairman of the forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, said in a statement yesterday that although Nigeria was going through troubling times, there was still hope that must not be lost because hard times do not last forever.
He urged the Muslim Ummah to continue to demonstrate faith in the prayers, which were offered, especially during the Ramadan fast, saying that God did not make a mistake by creating Nigeria with all its diversities and will therefore not allow evil to prevail or destroy the country.
“The current security situation demands more action from both the government and citizens who must work together to isolate bad elements that are desperate to make Nigeria an unstable entity.
“Nigerians, particularly political and religious leaders, should avoid rhetoric that inflames passions and further divides the nation along religious, ethnic and parochial sentiments. I wish Nigerians a happy festive period and I am praying that it will be spent in peace and love,” he said.
Many governors in their separate statements offered solidarity messages and prayers for peace as the Muslim faithful marked the end of the Ramadan fasting.
Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, in his Sallah message urged Nigerians to remain vigilant and oppose any agitations aimed at balkanising the country into hostile entities.
Similarly, Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi enjoined the people of the state irrespective of their religious affiliations to live together in peace and harmony as they were all created by God to fulfil His purpose.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu urged Muslims in Lagos State and across the country to continue on the path of spirituality and peaceful co-existence.
The governor said Ramadan was significant to Muslims across the world as one of the major pillars of Islam, which thought abstinence from worldly pleasures, steadfastness in prayers and total submission to the will of Allah.
Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, called on the faithful not to do away with love, prayers, unity and harmony that formed the basis of the holy month.
He urged Muslims to engage in moderate celebration to mark the end of the fasting, saying “the situation in our dear country calls for sober reflection and prayers.”
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State said Ramadan was a season of several teachings that centred on humanity, kindness, peace and love; saying if these lessons would be retained, many of the problems afflicting the country would fizzle out.
From Ondo, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said Ramadan entailed intense prayers. “We must pray for Nigeria and our state. The problem of banditry, kidnappings and other activities of criminal elements must be brought to an end. It is time to seek God’s face on the issue of insecurity that ravages our nation,” he said.
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State urged the faithful to celebrate in accordance with COVID-19 protocols and encouraged them to reach out to the less privileged in the society to make them share in the joy and happiness that came with the festival.
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State advised Muslims to remain steadfast and continue to pray for peace and unity of the country, noting that development and growth could only take place when the people were united.
While calling on Muslims to observe COVID-19 protocols, Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State said that humanity was going through a tough time occasioned by restrictions.
Fintiri appealed to Muslims to strengthen the bond of friendship and unity.
Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi in his message called on all Nigerians to take advantage of the occasion to reflect soberly and intensify prayers, emphasising that the religious event had great positive impact on the nation’s efforts in surmounting its security, socio-economic and public health challenges.
Rekindle hope for unity – Reps Minority Caucus
The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives has called on Muslims to rekindle the hopes of Nigerians in the unity of the country as they celebrate Eid-el-Fitr.
They made the call in a statement signed by the House Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, on Wednesday, as they felicitated with Muslims on the completion of the Ramadan fasting.
“Our caucus urges Nigerians, especially the leaders, to deploy the imbibed lessons of self-restraint and trust in God to engender honesty, justice, mutual respect, tolerance peaceful co-existence as well as love and care for one another, in line with the teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammed.
“Indeed, we must, as a people, instil such virtues in our everyday life in order to salvage and stabilise our nation at this critical time,” the statement said.
Put politics aside, pray for Nigeria, Buhari – Tinubu
National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has said that the act of sacrifice in abstaining from food, drink and other worldly things from dawn to dusk, was not simply a ritual to be performed so that Muslims might seem religious or pious to others.
“Now that the holy month of Ramadan is ending, we must counsel ourselves not to forget its great lessons. We must be better than we were before. We must treat each other with more compassion and understanding. We must build a better society free from want, violence and hatred. We must never condone and tolerate the works and words of those who would do evil or who would pit brother against brother, Nigerian against Nigerian.
“Let us put politics aside and continue to pray to Almighty Allah for our country and its entire people. Let us remember President Muhammadu Buhari and his government in our prayers that they may be given the requisite strength and wisdom to protect the nation, defeat the challenges that confront us and help establish Nigeria as a more prosperous and just land. Let us pray for our brave soldiers and security agents confronting insurgents and bandits,” he said.
Ensure peace with your family, neighbours – Atiku
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in his goodwill message urged Muslims to ensure peace and unity within their family and in their neighbourhood.
“As Muslims, we know from both the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of noble Prophet Muhammed (SAW) that no tribe or race is superior to another, except the one that seeks piety to the Almighty Allah.
“We do not attain piety through hate or blood-letting. We attain piety through forbearance and by sharing love. That is the message that we must give some reflection as we celebrate Eid today,” he said.
Continue praying for Nigeria- Saraki
The immediate past Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has advised Nigerians to continue with their closeness to Almighty Allah and their prayers for His intervention in the affairs of the country, even after the obligatory fasting period.
“We should refrain from returning to our old habits and become responsible citizens who pray for the country at all times and play our roles in the quest to entrench the fear of God, discipline, unity, development, equity, justice and inclusiveness in the polity.
“The current situation in our country requires sincere change of mindset by all Nigerians. We should use this post-Ramadan period and the lessons we learnt from the fasting period to steer clear of any action which does not bode well for our country,” he said.
Speakers of various Houses of Assemblies had also prayed for peace, harmony mutual respect amongst diverse ethnic nationalities.