By Umaru Kangiwa (Religious/Islamic Affairs Reporter)
Both Thursday and Friday, July 30 and 31, 2020, have been declared as public holidays by the federal government to mark this year’s Islamic festival of sacrifice, Eid-el-Kabir celebration.
This was announced by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Georgina Ehuriah
Aregbesola, on behalf of the Federal Government, congratulated Muslim faithful and all Nigerians both at home and abroad on the occasion. He called on Muslims to continue to imbibe the spirit of love, peace, kindness and sacrifice, as exemplified by the Holy Prophet Muhammad and to also use the period to pray for peace, unity, prosperity and the stability of the country, especially as the world was witnessing global health challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister who assured that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was fully committed to battling the scourge with the cooperation of all Nigerians, emphasized that government would continue to foster peaceful coexistence, national cohesion and stability in its march towards actualizing the full potentials of the country. He called on all Nigerians to join hands with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in its avowed determination to build a peaceful, harmonious and prosperous country, where the rights of every citizen would be protected and guaranteed, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Minister also advised Nigerians to take responsibility against the spread of the COVID-19 and also to stay safe by observing physical and social distancing, personal and respiratory hygiene, as well as other regulations issued by relevant authorities.
Meanwhile, the presidency has announced that President Muhammadu Buhari will observe the Eid El-Kabir prayers at home in the presidential villa with his family due to the covid-19 protocols put in place to curb the pandemic.
A statement on Wednesday by the president's spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, said Buhari will not be receiving any visitor during the Sallah celebrations. Shehu explained that this decision was in line with the presidential task force on COVID-19 directive.
“President Muhammadu Buhari will observe the Eid El-Kabir prayers with his family at home, just as he did during the Eid El-Fitr a little over two months ago, in line with advisories from the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA and the Presidential Task Force, PTF on COVID-19,” he said.
“In wishing all Muslims a safe and happy Eid, the president reiterated the protocols as issued by the PTF that large gatherings, as much as possible, should be discouraged.
“Where small groups choose to hold the Eid together, face masks are absolutely necessary, as is social distancing. Advisedly, such prayers should hold outdoors and worshippers are encouraged to bring their own prayer mats.
“In order to stop the spread of the disease, the President will not be receiving Sallah homages by religious, community, party and government leaders and urges all citizens to observe the occasion as advised by state and local authorities.”
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the president hosted different groups during Sallah. NNL.