As Muslims mark Eid-el-Fitr all over the world, President Muhammadu Buhari has commended Nigerians for their sacrifices and patience in the face of “temporary economic hardship,” saying, “I appreciate your sacrifices.”
President Buhari, in his Sallah message, said he was not unaware of the pains Nigerians were going through at this time.
He also urged wealthy Nigerians to remember the millions of Nigerians who are suffering deprivation because of violence perpetrated by terrorists.
President Buhari felicitated with all Nigerians, especially the Muslim Ummah, on the occasion of this year’s Eid-el-Fitr, which marks the completion of the Ramadan fast.
“I congratulate Muslims in Nigeria and around the world on the successful completion of this month-long spiritual journey of fasting, prayer and almsgiving in obedience to divine command,” he said.
The president admonished all patriotic Nigerians to uphold the lessons of Ramadan and also appreciate the numerous material and human blessings God has endowed them with.
“I sincerely pray that the Almighty Allah will reward our sacrifices with increased blessing and a more prosperous future.
“On Monday this week, the vice president, the speaker of the House of Representatives and other government officials joined me to host Iftar reception at the State House with Nigerians of different backgrounds, including internally displaced persons (IDPs), artisans and physically-challenged persons.
“Like I said during the reception, I want to once again appeal to those of us who have the means to remember the millions of Nigerians who are suffering deprivation because of violence perpetrated by terrorists.
“I am not unaware of what Nigerians are going through and I want to use this medium to commend the amazing sacrifices of Nigerians in the face of the temporary economic and social challenges; and I also reassure Nigerians that my administration is working assiduously towards providing basic needs and other amenities.”
President Buhari also remarked that all true followers of Islam had been revitalised on the true meaning and essence of life and through the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
“We have learnt to imbibe the virtues of piety, sacrifice, love, self-denial and good conduct in our daily relationship with one another.”
He urged Nigerians to respect and tolerate one another irrespective of religion and tribe, just as he reaffirmed his commitment to the fight against corruption.
“Let us learn to show gratitude, respect and tolerance to one other, irrespective of our religion, tribe, language and political leanings, as we forge ahead to build on our strengths and opportunities to make Nigeria great again.
“Let me also use this opportunity to reaffirm that we will not relent in the fight against corruption and we will ensure that all appropriate and legal measures are deployed to root out this malaise,” he added.
Buhari commended the Armed Forces and security agencies for the gains recorded in the fight against terrorists and the rescue of hostages in the North East part of the country.
“I also appeal for the support, understanding and patience of all Nigerians and our international partners as we explore the fastest means to end the economic sabotage in the Niger Delta and amicably resolve the conflicts within the region.
“I promise you all better days ahead even as we remain grateful for your unflinching support to our administration. Happy Eid-el-Fitr celebration and may the Almighty Allah continue to bless our nation. Eid Mubarak,” he concluded.
The Senate president, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, also enjoined Muslim faithful across the country to sustain the values and virtues which the holy month of Ramadan taught them in their day-to-day relationship with God and fellow human beings.
Saraki, in a statement by his special adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, also urged all Nigerians to remain steadfast and prayerful in the face of daunting socio-economic challenges.
“I urge all Nigerians, across religious divides, to remain steadfast, prayerful and patriotic. The virtues of moderation, piety, regular supplication to Allah and being our brother’s keeper should subsist beyond the Ramadan. Beyond this, every Nigerian should seek to contribute to rebuilding the nation with renewed vigour,” he added.
On his part, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, congratulated the entire Muslim Ummah across the country on the successful completion of this year’s Ramadan fast.
In a statement issued by his special adviser, Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, a copy of which was made available to newsmen yesterday, the Speaker urged Muslims to use the period of Eid-el-Fitr to pray for Nigeria to overcome its present challenges.
Dogara also advised Muslims to allow the lessons of humility, sacrifice, love and selfless service garnered during the month-long fast to guide their lives and activities.
He noted that the holy month of Ramadan afforded Muslims the opportunity to show compassion, mercy and kindness to their fellow men.
“May I use this opportunity to urge the Muslim faithful to use the occasion to reflect on the lessons of Ramadan and continue to imbibe its teachings which are primarily premised on selflessness, sacrifice, patience, modesty and spirituality,” Dogara said.
The speaker also called for prayers for the success of the country’s leadership under President Muhammadu Buhari for God to continue to guide, protect and give him the wisdom to steer the affairs of the state and actualise the Change Agenda.
Affirming the National Assembly’s commitment to upholding the tenets of democracy and championing the cause of the electorate at all times, the Speaker promised that the House of Representatives would continue to initiate laws and legislative interventions to support the Change Agenda and improve the living conditions of Nigerians.
For his part, the deputy speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Sulaimon Lasun Yussuff, appealed to Nigerians to love one another irrespective of religious inclinations.
Lasun in his Eid-el-fitr message to Nigerians, sent on his behalf by his chief press secretary, Mr Wole Oladimeji, also called on Nigerians to eschew violence.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) urged Muslim faithful across the country to imbibe the lessons learnt during the Holy month of Ramadan which embodies brotherly love for one another.
The APC also reiterated that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is doing all it can to turn around the country’s dwindling economy for the betterment of all Nigerians, as evident in the various palliatives and safety measures embedded in the national budget in order to ease the current economic hardship.
In a statement issued by its national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the APC congratulated Muslim faithful on the successful completion of the Ramadan fast and reminded them of the cardinal message that although Eid-el-Fitr signifies the end of Ramadan, the doctrines of moderation, piety, regular supplication to Allah (SWT) and being a brother’s keeper subsist beyond the Ramadan.
Odigie-Oyegun said, “Amidst Eid-el-Fitr celebrations, Muslim faithful are enjoined to spare a thought for the country. The APC also calls on Muslim faithful and, indeed, all Nigerians to use the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr to pray for the peace, development and prosperity of the country.
“The party also calls on Nigerians to pray and support the administration as it continues to develop and implement socio-development initiatives for the good of the country.”
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, on his part, told Muslims in the country to portray Islam in a positive light through the spirit of tolerance and commitment to peaceful coexistence in their everyday conduct.
In his goodwill Sallah message to Nigerian Muslims to celebrate the end of the Ramadan, the former vice president noted that the lessons of this Holy month should be taken beyond the celebration.
“Self-discipline and love for fellow human beings are some of the important virtues of Ramadan,” he said, adding that these virtues should not “desert our hearts because the event has come to an end.”
Meanwhile, the United States has warned of possible attacks against expatriates and foreign visitors in Lagos during public holidays marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The US Mission in Nigeria said that groups associated with extremist activity might be planning attacks against hotels in Lagos frequented by international visitors, including those located on waterfronts, during the Eid-el-Fitr holidays.
“Tuesday and Wednesday are public holidays in Nigeria, and the traditional end of a month of fasting and prayer is marked by celebrations across the country.
“Lagos, a melting pot megacity of some 20 million people, has been spared the worst excesses of violence by the Islamist group, Boko Haram, whose seven-year insurgency has destroyed Nigeria’s northeast,” it said.
The US Embassy’s latest warning did not mention a specific group but urged its citizens to “review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates”.
It could be recall that a similar security warning was given in December last year, while in May 2014, diplomats were warned of a possible attack at two Sheraton hotels in Lagos, after a car bombing in Abuja killed 19 people just days before a major economic summit.
Similar warnings were also given in April 2012 and November 2011 about hotels popular with Westerners in Abuja.
But Lagos has been hit before. On June 25, 2014, explosions ripped through the port area near a major fuel depot.
The authorities blamed the blast on a cooking gas cylinder which exploded but eyewitnesses and Western diplomats said it was a car bomb that killed at least four people.
Boko Haram’s shadowy leader, Abubakar Shekau, later claimed responsibility.