Fears at Eid: Why this year’s celebration will be different | Dailytrust

Fears at Eid: Why this year’s celebration will be different

Last year, people feared coronavirus; this year, they fear kidnappers and bandits...

Celebrating eid in Alaba Rago, Lagos.
Photo by Abbas Dalibi
Celebrating eid in Alaba Rago, Lagos. Photo by Abbas Dalibi
Muslims in Nigeria will celebrate Eid-El-Fitr on Thursday May 13, 2020, but they have to put up with major concerns.
Eid is an important religious festival that marks the end of Ramadan each year.

The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), which is headed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, declared Thursday, after a report of the council’s moonsighting committee.

The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) had Monday predicted Thursday as Eid day for Nigerian Muslims.

But this year’s eid will be different–amidst myriad concerns for Muslims in Nigeria and world over.

Lockdown blues

Around eid last year, the country was at the height of total lockdown on account of COVID-19. The lockdown brought hardship on many households.

Eid was a silent celebration.

Workers worked from home as markets remained closed for several months.

This had affected economic activities and by implication had truncated the income of many family heads.

In some states in the federation Muslim faithfuls were only allowed to attend Eid grounds, but movements were restricted due to the surge in cases of coronavirus pandemic.

This year, several and emirate authorities have prayers on open eid gatherings. Broader nationwide restrictions that came into effect on Tuesday prohibit gatherings of more than 50 people indoors. Such gatherings outdoors must come with express permission of the state government.

Emirates ban sallah durbar 
Sallah durbar
This year has its own minuses. Some emirates in the northern part of the country have banned durbar (traditional Sallah procession) for the forthcoming Eid-el-Fitr over security challenges.
They fear that unscrupulous elements, under the pretext of celebrations, may  plan to wreak havoc on law-abiding citizens during the festive period if the celebration are allowed to go the normal way.
The Durbar festival, which is an ‘annual’ ‘religious’ and ‘equestrian’, is an important part of eid celebration in several cities in the northern part of Nigeria.
Young men dressed in glowing robs ride horses accompanied by a fanfare of drums, trumpets, Algaita, string fiddle, etc., to the amazement of spectators drawn even from the  neighbouring countries. This adds huge value to eid celebration.
Residents protest over the spate of insecurity as armed men killed one person and injured several others at Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State yesterday

Residents protest over the spate of insecurity as armed men killed one person and injured several others at Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State

The Minister of Defence, General Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd) last month said that the Nigerian nation in the last few years is being challenged by asymmetric and emerging security threats.
Kidnapping for ransom, cattle rustling, cultism, the activities of Boko Haram insurgents especially in the northeast and IPOB attacks in the southeast cause concern.
In Katsina State, for example, over 40 worshippers were herded off by kidnappers during night prayers on Sunday.
Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger states have become hot spots for kidnapping.
In Kano the army on Saturday arrested 13 suspected members of Boko Haram insurgents.
There was an insinuation that the terrorist group was regrouping or plotting to expand. This might have sent jitters down the spines of many people.
However, on Monday the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, alerted Lagosians of an impending plot by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to attack soft targets in the state.
Even though no timeframe for the attack was given, Lagosians may take the threat very serious and choose to sleep with one eye closed during the festive period.
Speaking to our correspondent, Auwalu Lauya said last year’s Eid and this year’s differ in two ways.
“Last year’s Eid was low-keyed as there was restriction occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. People were afraid to contract the disease as COVID-19 protocols enforcement ready security agents were seen everywhere.
“This year there is free movement, but heightened insecurity is the major concern. Travellers will be apprehensive as people are kidnapped day and night. Bandits kill at sight.
A trader, Abdulkadir Hamisu, said both eids have their minuses, but this year’s is being basterdized by the increase in the prices of especially foodstuffs.
He said, “The hike in the prices of goods and services has unsettled almost everything. The prices of foodstuff has been hiked by almost 50%. You can imagine what many families are going through.
“Anyway last year’s Eid was better compared to this year. Of course there was lockdown, but God opened other doors. The poor were assisted by the rich. But this year all is silent.”
Speaking on what she plans to do on eid day, Salma Muh’d, said after eid prayer her plan is to visit her relatives and friends.
She said, “I’m very happy that I have witnessed yet another year. Part of my plan is to visit my relatives and friends. Thereafter I spend some time at a park.
“Except if the government is banning that, each afternoon of eid day my family go to a mall to buy delicacies and  spend some time in a park not far from our residence. This year may not be different.”
Nana Abdullahi said her plan is to spend the festive period with her elder sister in Kano.
According Nana, there is no ground for comparison between this year’s and the last year’s eid, saying she was not happy last year as the lockdown couldn’t allow her to enjoy the period.
“I have finer clothes this year.  I think everyone will be happier this year as there is a free movement.
“At my sister’s we will watch movies and have fun with her children, but last year I was at home all alone.”

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