President Muhammadu Buhari says the battle against terrorists, who falsely masquerade under the name of Islam, is approaching its conclusion.
He said this Sunday in his Eid-el-Fitr goodwill message to Muslims in Nigeria and across the world.
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Buhari, according to a statement by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, said: “The fight has been long and hard. Final victory is within sight. Boko Haram and its offshoots’ final embers are now fading.
“After a period of fasting and reflection, this year, we have cause to welcome the occasion in hope.”
The president directed increased coordination and cooperation among security agencies.
Buhari, who said an end had been brought to a silo approach among the agencies, assured that there would be no shortage of funds to provide security for the citizens.
Appraising the security situation across the country, he said: “Last month, the leader of ISWAP was killed in an airstrike. Since the New Year, thousands of fighters have surrendered to enter rehabilitation programmes. The territories they used to occupy are now seeing the return of those who were forced to flee their barbarity.
“Normality is finally beginning to return to the Northeast. It is a long process. Yet it is one we are, together, now embarking upon.”
He said with the designation of bandit groups as terrorists, banditry and kidnapping were being tackled differently in the North West and North Central “Where the latest military acquisitions and the armed forces are being fanned out across the region to thwart acts of terror.”
He said his administration was equally getting impressive reports of the special operations to curb crude oil theft and illegal oil bunkering in the South-South, with millions of illegally refined products being impounded and illegal refineries destroyed.
“While we are making progress cleaning the environment, some evil people are busy causing more pollution and destruction,” Buhari added.
He noted that in response to the disturbing rise in criminal attacks targeting law enforcement and public facilities in the South East, concerted military operations to rid the zone of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) elements had, in recent weeks, led to the overrunning of IPOB/ESN bases, the seizure of weapons and the arrest of a large number of suspects.
The president, according to the statement, approved the establishment of a Naval Base in Oguta, Imo State.
“The reinvigoration of the war against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking is also showing positive results as shown by the arrest of over 12, 300 offenders including seven drug barons; the conviction of 1,400, counselling and rehabilitation of about 8,000 drug users.
“The seizure of over 3.4 million kilograms of drugs and cash worth over N130 billion, all in 2021 has been recorded while the first quarter of this year has seen the arrest of no fewer than 3,536 offenders including security personnel and a well-known billionaire drug baron. The seizure of more than 65,000 tons of assorted drugs in this period sets a record for the nation.’’
The statement said Buhari also approved the promotion of over 3,500 officers, the procurement of operational equipment, training for personnel and buildings for residential barracks to give impetus to the concerned agency.
Lawan, govs urge prayers for peace
Meanwhile, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila and state governors, in their Eid-el-Fitr messages yesterday, asked Nigerians to pray for peace and security in the country.
In his goodwill message by his spokesman, Ola Awoniyi, the Senate president said Nigerians should also continue to pray for security and peace in the country and the world at large.
He asked them to continue “To abhor whatever threatens peace and embrace whatever strengthens the unity of our nation.
“As Nigerians, let’s engage in what is right and avoid whatever is forbidden by our faith and be good representatives of our faith.”
Lawan said the National Assembly would continue to play its role, in partnership with the executive, towards achieving national dreams and aspirations.
House of Representatives Speaker
The speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, in a statement by his spokesman, Lanre Lasisi, felicitated with Nigerian Muslims on Eid-El-Fitr, asking them to pray for peace and unity in the country.
He said at a time when Nigeria is facing unprecedented challenges, it was imperative for citizens to look inward and re-dedicate themselves to their creator through prayers and sincere acts of worship.
He enjoined Nigerians to keep faith with the leadership of the country and contribute their quota to the nation’s development.
Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya in a goodwill message by his spokesman, Ismaila Uba Misilli, urged the citizenry to remain resolute in praying for Nigeria to overcome her socio-economic and security challenges.
Yahaya asked them to have faith that the trying moment would be over and that the nation would emerge stronger and more united.
He also urged monarchs, religious and community leaders to sustain the prevailing peace and security for the socio-economic development of the state.
Governor Babagana Zulum in a Sallah message by his spokesman, Isa Gusau, called on Muslims to sustain prayers for Nigeria beyond the Ramadan.
Zulum, while in Saudi Arabia for umrah, said he observed many Nigerians were obviously praying for the country just like more others did way back home.
He asked Nigerians not to relent “because the Ramadan is over”, noting that the peace, stability and prosperity of Nigeria are permanent needs that require all time prayers.
He said the prayers should be backed by the sincere commitment of all leaders towards improving the welfare of all Nigerians.
Governor Gboyega Oyetola, in a statement by his spokesman, Ismail Omipidan, urged Muslims in Osun and all people of the state to pray for peace, stability, progress and development of the state, especially as it prepares for the forthcoming elections.
He asked them to remember to extend love and compassion to the needy and less privileged in the society.
Governor Abdullahi Sule implored all citizens of the state and Nigerians to continue to pray for the sustenance of peace, security and socio-economic prosperity of the state and the country at large.
Sule also urged the citizens to pray for leaders at all levels to govern with the fear of God, justice, humility and service for the good of humanity.
Governor Dapo Abiodun, in a statement by his spokesman, Kunle Somorin, urged Ogun citizens to pray for peace in the country and the state.
He preached against immorality among youths as well as the get-rich-quick syndrome.
Governor Mai Mala Buni, in a Sallah message by his spokesman, Mamman Mohammed, prayed to Allah to accept the acts of ibadah worship and supplications made for the full return of peace and prosperity in Yobe and Nigeria.
He charged the people to be conscious and vigilant about strange movements and objects in their vicinity and to report same to security agents.
He called for a peaceful celebration with prayers for a rewarding cropping season and prosperity in Yobe and Nigeria.
Governor Benedict Ayade urged Muslims in the state to be law-abiding, continue to pray for a peaceful Nigeria and shun divisive tendencies.
“Divided we achieve nothing, but united we achieve all even beyond our expectations,” he admonished.
Governor Darius Ishaku urged the people of the state to always be vigilant and to remain steadfast in their prayers for Allah to expose and punish evildoers.
He solicited the support and full participation of the people in the political transition process that had begun in the state and the country at large.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu urged Muslims and other religious denominations in Nigeria to continue to pray for continued peace and stability in the country.
Sanwo-Olu, in his Eid-el-Fitri message by his spokesman, Gboyega Akosile, said all hands must be on deck to address the growing challenge of insecurity and other burning issues bedevilling the nation.
Governor Yahaya Bello, in a statement by his spokesman, Muhammed Onogwu, asked citizens to remember Nigeria and its leaders in their respective prayers at this trying period of nationhood.
He said as the 2023 general elections drew nearer, Nigerians must use the deep spiritual significance of Eid-el-Fitr to pray for the emergence of a leader that would unite the country and guarantee security nationwide.
Ganduje bans hoisting of banners at eid ground
Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje has banned the hoisting of banners and posters by politicians during the Eid prayers and other Sallah festivities.
In his Sallah message signed by the Commissioner for Information, Muhammad Garba, he said the act was causing serious distractions during prayers and making other Sallah festivities less attractive.
“While the two raka’at Eid prayer is considered as an important ritual after a month-long Ramadan fasting, festive activities that follow are aimed at showcasing our rich cultural heritage where even foreigners witness them.
“It is therefore inappropriate or even disrespectful for persons or political parties to reduce such places to grounds for rallies or campaigns,” he said.
He noted that hoisting of posters when people of different political leanings converge on Sallah and festive grounds, particularly the traditional Hawan Daushe at the emir’s palace, makes it potentially prone to political violence.
He also warned against political rallies under any guise during the Eid celebrations in violation of the Electoral Act.
Ganduje charged the security agencies in Kano to take appropriate measures against any deviant act capable of breaching the prevailing peace in the state. He felicitated with Muslims on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr, urging them to continue to pray for the state and the nation.
Atiku, Amaechi call for stronger bonds
In his Sallah message, former Vice President and presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar called on Nigerians to strengthen the bond of love despite our religious differences, saying love is the prerequisite for binding unity in any diverse society like ours.
The former vice president appealed to Nigerians to develop the spirit of tolerance and respect towards one another, despite our ethnic and religious differences.
“We should use religion as an instrument for creating unity, love and harmony rather than using it to feed hate and intolerance, which usually results in needless conflicts. Let’s not allow selfish politicians and people of bad faith to divide us and use us as fighting tools for their own sinister agendas,” Atiku stressed.
The Minister of Transportation and presidential aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, expressed felicitations with the Muslim faithful in the country, urging them to use the occasion of Eid-El-Fitr to pray for the peace and unity of Nigeria.
Amaechi said this year’s Eid-El-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the Holy Month of self-purification and self-denial in Islam offers yet another opportunity to seek divine help for our country and its leadership.
In a statement issued by the Amaechi Presidential Campaign Organisation and made available to newsmen on Sunday in Abuja, the APC presidential frontrunner urged Nigerians not to be tired of seeking the face of God for the good of the country, noting that prayer has doubtlessly helped in strengthening the cord of peace, unity, love and affection among Nigerian citizens.
By Muideen Olaniyi, Abdullateef Salau, Balarabe Alkassim (Abuja), Haruna G. Yaya (Gombe), Umar Muhammed (Lafia), Peter Moses (Abeokuta), Eyo Charles (Calabar), Ibrahim B. Saleh (Damaturu), Magaji I. Hunkuyi (Jalingo), Christiana T. Alabi (Lagos), Hameed Oyegbade (Osogbo) & Zahraddeen Y. Shuaibu (Kano)