- …As minister urges prayers to end COVID-19
Some Muslims resident in Abaji Area Council of the FCT yesterday joined their brothers in Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State to observe the Eid-el-Fitr prayers.
The Minister of the FCT, Muhammad Musa Bello, had last week at a meeting with representatives of Muslim and Christian clerics, declared that places of worship would remain closed in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.
City News reporter who was at the Eid ground in Toto, observed that some of the Muslims from Abaji metropolis alighted from vehicles and motorcycles with children to join the two Raka’at prayers led by the Chief Imam of Toto Central Mosque, Ustaz Umar Shehu.
A resident of Abaji, Suleiman Yakubu, who spoke with our reporter, said he decided to join other Muslims in Toto, to enable him fulfil all the rites expected of every Muslim as it concerned Ramadan.
Yakubu said, “I’m aware of the minister’s directive that mosques and churches should remain closed, but Ramadan is a month when one needs to join in congregational prayers to seek God’s protection against the challenges we are facing in the country.”
Another Abaji resident, Abdullahi Bala, said he and his three children decided to join other Muslims in Toto, to observe the Eid because he could not afford to miss the congregational prayers after 30 days of Ramadan fast.
Bala said, “If the government can allow people to go to the market for just one day to buy and sell, I don’t see why Muslims should not go to mosques for Eid prayers that will not take more than 20 or 30 minutes.”
He said although he was not against the government’s restriction on places of worship to curb the spread of COVID-19, it should have allowed Muslims to obverse the Eid prayers after 30 days of fasting.
The Chief Imam of Toto Central Mosque, Ustaz Shehu Umar, in his sermon called on leaders to see the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic as a lesson, saying leaders must change their ways, especially those elected to represent the people.
Ustaz Umar said every soul must surely account for its deeds on the day of resurrection, and then called for collective effort of every Muslim to pray to overcome the challenges of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, felicitated with Muslims on a successful Ramadan and wished them an enjoyable Eid-el Fitr.
Malam Bello, through a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Anthony Ogunleye, also urged Muslims to offer fervent prayers for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said, “While the Holy month of Ramadan was, no doubt, used to pray fervently for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative consequences on the society, I must urge the Muslim Ummah not to relent in their prayers, but rather intensify them even after Ramadan, because in times of tribulations, true supplications to the Almighty indeed yields positive results.”
Malam Bello also used the occasion to express appreciation to health and essential workers in the frontlines in the battle against COVID-19, saying their dedication to duty and the sacrifices they were making had kept the number of active cases within manageable limits.
He further thanked individuals, corporate, religious and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), as well as some government establishments, for their contributions in the provision of medical equipment, facilities and palliatives for the less privileged who were being negatively impacted by COVID-19.
The minister enjoined residents to obey all laid down protocols of hand washing, face covering, staying at home and social distancing during the Sallah festivities.
He said, “COVID-19 does not discriminate who it affects, there is, therefore, the need for residents to take personal responsibility for their health. If you observe any symptoms associated with the virus, please contact the relevant health authorities.”