Nigerians Mark First Terror-Free Sallah


Tight Security Nationwide  Borno Gov Applauds Military, Civilian Vigilantes

By Patience Ogbodo-Iwuagwu (Bauchi) Clement Ekong and Sunny Nwankwo (Yola) Gbenga Faturoti (Osogbo) Ben Duru (Umuahia) Augustine Adah and Tunde Opeseitan (Lagos) Onoja Audu (Jos) and Laide Raheem (Abeokuta)

Nigerians enjoyed peaceful celebrations of the Eid-el Kabir yesterday across the country.

There was no record of any attack, as was the case over the past six years that the country’s North East had been under the stranglehold of the dreaded Boko Haram terror group.

Yesterday’s Sallah celebration was also the first of any religious festivals that was devoid of any casualties that usually occasioned attacks from the Boko Haram sect.

However, reports have it that the Eid celebrations took place amidst tight security in major cities of the North East states, with the Eid prayer grounds witnessing heavy presence of armed security men to provide cover for the Muslim faithful who had turned out to observe the annual two-raka’at prayers for the celebration.

In Bauchi, joint security operatives consisting of Police, Army and State Security operatives were seen patrolling the metropolis, while armoured tanks were also mounted at strategic places in the metropolis. There was also high security presence in all mosques and major streets in Bauchi metropolis to avoid breakdown of law and order.

As early as 7 a.m., worshippers trouped to the Bauchi Central Mosque where the two-raka’at prayer was observed instead of the Eid El praying ground, the Chief Imam, Alhaji Bala Muhammad Baban Inna, called on Muslims Ummah to always fear Allah in their daily activities.

The Chief Imam warned people toWORK with truthfulness as their watchdog that would promote justice, peace and progress in every society as well as promote development.

The celebrations were peaceful throughout Adamawa State, amid watertight security, as Muslims congregated to observe the prayers. Security personnel and a military aircraft hovered around to detect possible insurgents apart from the ground military patrol that were stationed at flash points within the metropolis.

Imams in the major prayer grounds in their separate sermons urged Muslims and non-Muslims to unite and fight the terrorists making life difficult in the North East states of the country.

Similarly, the Lamido of Adamawa, Dr. Barkindo Aliyu Mustapha, who was also at the Yola Central Mosque, enjoined the people to live in peace with one another.

Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno urged Nigerians to use the Eid-el Kabir celebration to reflect on all security personnel, civilian volunteers including members of the youth vigilante and hunters who laid their lives, while defending people from Boko Haram attacks in the North-east.

Shettima in his message after the Eid prayer said: “Eid Kabir is for Muslims to emulate Prophet Ibrahim who offered to sacrifice his only son, Ismail, in obedience to the command of Allah out of absolute faith and selflessness.

“Sallah should also be used by Nigerians to reflect on how many soldiers, policemen, staff of the DSS, personnel of the Customs and Immigration manning borders as well as civilian volunteers, particularly the civilian JTF in Borno and hunters across the North-east offered their lives in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents in order to secure us.”

He said the insurgency bedeviling the north-east would soon be surmounted, adding that Borno, particularly, would bounce back as truly home of peace.

He appealed to the people to be patient and support the Federal Government and military’s determination to end terrorism in the area.

Army Bans Tricycle

Meanwhile, the 23rd Armoured Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Yola had earlier in the day banned the use of tricycle popularly known as Keke Napep during the Sallah festivals.

The Army Public Relations Officer, Captain Nuhu Ja’afaru, said the ban was to ensure hitch-free and peaceful yuletide.

Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, urged Nigerians to promote peaceful co-existence within and outside their communities for the sustenance of national development.

Addressing journalists after the Eid prayers, at the Oke-Baale, Osogbo praying ground, Aregbesola described selfless sacrifice as the supreme mechanism that would promote peaceful co-existence.

“As a nation, there is a need for us to do away with those things that we do that stem development and reduce our progress by applying all the teachings of the holy Quran and Haddith of Prophet Muhammed.”

Earlier in his sermon, the Chief Imam of Osogbo, Sheikh Musa Animasahun, admonished Muslims to fear Allah and always remember that they would someday die, whether or not they liked it, saying the worthy soul was the one that lives on the cause of Allah.

Tight security was mounted in and around the Tin City of Jos yesterday as Muslims celebrated the Eid El Kabir festival in Plateau State.

Daily Independent observed that heavily armed policemen took positions in strategic and violence prone areas of Jos Bukuru Metropolis.

As early as 8 a.m., worshipers trooped into various places of worship in the city.

Sheik Aliyu Khalaid, the Chief Iman of Fibre Mosque, Jos, commended efforts of the military in tackling terrorism, urging Nigerians to be patient with President Muhammadu Buhari over the delay in appointments of ministers.

At the central Mosque, the Chief Imam of Jos Sheikh Muhammad Adam, called on Muslims to be of good behavior, and exhibit the true norms of Islam.

Sheik Adam said the Islamic teachings enjoined all Muslims to be of good behaviour, obedience to Allah and constituted authorities, exhibiting a “high sense of respect, discipline and also use the period to assist the needy.”

The governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State, Prince Abubakar Audu, also used the occasion to urge political leaders in the state to place the interest of the people above all other considerations.

Audu, who spoke in a Sallah message to the Muslim community, noted that with the advent of the campaign season, all political leaders in the state should “place the fundamental interest of the well-being and progress of our dear homeland above all considerations all through the campaigns and the election.”

In a message by the Chief Press Secretary, Godwin Adindu, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, admonished Nigerian Muslims not to lose the essence of the celebration, but imbibe the significance of the celebration, which involves forgiveness of one another and obedience to Allah who represents love and peace to mankind.

He commended the Abia Muslim community for being partners-in-progress and “authentic followers of the true teachings of Allah and the precepts of the prophet. They have demonstrated this in their tolerance and spirit of community which have impacted the general atmosphere of law and order in the state.”

A senator representing Ogun Central Senatorial District, Lanre Tejuoso, called on Nigerians to pray for those in the North-eastern states of the federation who are under the threat of Boko Haram.

In his Salah message to Muslims in Ogun State, he urged prayers “for all our brothers and sisters in all the states in the Northeast who have been traumatised by Boko Haram.”

The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, urged Muslims and people of all faiths to step up their sacrificial efforts and ensure that real change in the running of the government is established in Nigeria.

Obasa enjoined Nigerians to pray and sacrifice personal resources to entrench solid democratic governance in the country, joining other leaders like former Governor Bola Tinubu, Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos, Chief Femi Okunnu, Baba Adinni of Lagos, Sheik Abdullahi Abu and Lagos Commissioner Police, Fatai Owoseni to observe the prayer at Dodan Barracks in Lagos, appealed to Nigerians to live together in peace and let Islam play vital roles in their daily activities.

The Speaker, who said he was optimistic of the survival of democracy in the country, however, cautioned that all hands must be on deck, saying that government at all levels and the people must play their roles very well.

According to him, Nigerian people have suffered enough and should not be subjected to another round of bad governance.

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