President Muhammadu Buhari says Muslims must keep their spirits high despite the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Buhari, the pandemic has “caught the world off guard, and has put a damper on what would otherwise have been a time of celebration for the Muslim faithful to mark the end of the Ramadan fasting period.”
Buhari in his Sallah message to Muslims on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr, said “for the first time in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the people’s spiritual, social and economic lives.”
He said: “This year’s fasting period was particularly challenging for Muslims because they had to forgo many important aspects of their daily worship, including the routine congregations for prayer and the recitation and interpretation of the Holy Qur’an as well as travelling for the lesser pilgrimage to Makkah.”
In the statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, Buhari said, “it is not easy to give up many of these important duties and activities, but it became imperative to do so in order to control or limit the spread of this deadly disease.
“Let me use this opportunity to commend the sacrifices of both Muslims and Christians for their cooperation in the enforcement of the social distancing guidelines.
“I am well aware of the inconveniences these tough measures have brought on the lives of Nigerians, including limiting religious activities and gatherings in large numbers,” the President noted, adding that “No government would intentionally impose these tough and demanding measures on its citizens if it had a choice.”
The President appealed to other Nigerians “whose businesses and means of livelihoods were badly affected by the prolonged lockdown measures for their understanding and cooperation.”
President Buhari told the Muslim faithful that “this year’s Eid event is an occasion for sober reflection rather than celebration because of the long shadows of gloom that the coronavirus has cast on people’s lives.”