• Buhari urges stronger ties among Nigerians
• Saraki predicts economic rebound, Dogara seeks unity
• Don’t let extremists destroy Islam, Atiku warns Muslims
Movement of people and vehicles in the insurgency-ravaged Borno and Yobe states of the north-east has been restricted to protect lives and property during the Eid-el-Kabir celebration.
The Spokesman of the Borno Police Command, Victor Isuku, who announced the restriction yesterday explained, the action was taken to protect lives and property in the Maiduguri metropolis and the liberated communities.
“The restrictions, though regrettable, will include vehicles, tricycle, bicycles and animals, except those on essential duties. Muslim faithful are advised to pray for the sallah at the respective prayer grounds close to homes and ensure they go early enough for security screening.
“This is to avoid rush when prayers are about to commence, thereby compromising the emplaced security measures. Parents who go to prayer grounds with their children are advised to watch and take proper care of them so as to avert the incidents of missing ones,” Isuku said in a statement.
The police advised youths not to carry any dangerous weapons to the praying grounds and recreational centres. Isuku warned that any person found with such weapons, would be arrested and prosecuted in a court of law. He urged members of the general public to be security conscious and law-abiding.
In Yobe State, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam restricted the movement of vehicles from 10:00 p.m. yesterday till 11:00 a.m. today, Friday.In a statement yesterday in Damaturu, the Director of Press Affairs to the governor, Abdullahi Bego said: “The public is also advised that no vehicle, except those on official duty and with valid security clearance, will be allowed in or around Eid-prayer grounds.”
Bego said the state government adopted the measure in consultation with the heads of security and law enforcement agencies to ensure smooth, secure and hitch-free prayers today. He advised members of the general public to fully cooperate with the security agents.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to Nigerians to jettison their prejudices and strengthen the bonds of friendship and unity so as to keep the country together.
President Buhari in his message to Nigerians on the occasion of the Eid-El-Kabir celebration thanked “all Nigerians who prayed for my recovery and have continued to extend their goodwill and support after my return to the country.
Indeed your fervent and sincere prayers, which cut across religion, political and ethnic divides, has energised me to re-dedicate myself and this administration to the task of building a great Nigeria.”
He added : “On the joyous occasion of this year’s Eid-El-Kabir celebration, I appeal to all Nigerians to rise against the odds, keep our prejudices aside and strengthen the bonds of friendship and unity to keep our country together.”
Other eminent Nigerians, including the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, admonished Muslim faithful to work tirelessly for a united and virile Nigeria.
Saraki predicted that the celebration of Eid-El-Kabir and jummat on the same day (Friday) means economic rebound and assurance of double blessings to Muslim faithful across the country.
He said he had no doubt that this year would witness the rebound of the nation’s economy and that the positive effects would trickle down to individual homes and help citizens to realise their aspirations.
Saraki’s message was contained in a statement by Yusuph Olaniyonu, his special adviser on media and publicity yesterday in Abuja. He called on all Nigerians, irrespective of religion, to use the occasion to pray and rededicate themselves to the dreams of building a strong, united and economically and politically stable country.
He urged all Nigerians to be law-abiding and support the administration in its bid to tackle insecurity, unemployment, corruption and underperforming economy.
In his sallah message, Dogara said Nigeria could only fulfill its great potential as a nation if the citizens continue to foster unity, peace, security and stability as well as show greater respect and love for one another.
“This is a moment for sober reflections; I enjoin you to use the period to uphold the spiritual benefit of the celebration by extending a hand of friendship and solidarity across all divides and imbibing the spirit of sacrifice and obedience to the higher authority as exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim and upheld by Prophet Muhammed,” he said.
The speaker reiterated his call for sustained prayers for the leadership of the country at all levels. “This is an opportunity for us to reflect and pray for our nation; pray for our dear president for God’s guidance and good health and pray for all those in leadership positions so that God in his infinite mercy will continue to guide them as they steer the affairs of the country.”
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar enjoined the Muslim faithful to join hands in tackling the nefarious activities of extremists bent on destroying the humane virtues of Islam.In his sallah message to Muslims, Atiku advised Muslims to reclaim the religion which is being hijacked by violent extremists whose atrocities portray Islam in bad light.
The Wazirin Adamawa expressed sadness that the activities of the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency group have economically destroyed the north, in particular the north-east, and disrupted its social life.
“As a citizen of the north-east, I have a firsthand experience of the impact of terrorism on our people’s daily lives,” he said.He called for rigorous scrutiny and vigilance to guard against the influence of extremism, including exposing innocent students and followers to their virulent ideas.
Atiku advised parents to be wary of letting their children follow any preacher and thereby, falling victims of indoctrination, warning that poisonous ideas are as destructive as a bomb.
While wishing Muslim leaders a happy and hitch-free celebration, the former vice president said they should show increased commitment to peaceful coexistence and tolerance in line with the demands of the Muslim faith and Nigeria’s diversity.
According to him, love and peace should not only be preached, but must also be put into practice for the sake of sustaining the peace in the land.The former vice president advised Nigerians to eschew religious bigotry, and condemned politicians who use ethnic and religious sentiments to gain power.
According to him, identity politics based on religious loyalties rather than competence and commitment to unity is a threat to the nation’s democracy and progress.