Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has said he will heed the directive of the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, that Nigerian Muslims should observe the congregational prayers for this year’s Eid-el-Fitri in their homes.
He also said his action is in adherence to the protocol against mass gathering issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
This year’s Eid-el-Fitri to mark the end of the Ramadan amid coronavirus outbreak is slated for Saturday or Sunday and the Sultan had urged Muslims to look out for the sighting of the moon.
Abubakar, who is the leader of Nigerian Muslims, also suspended all prayers, gatherings in the outskirts of towns and cities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari said his decision is in observance of the lockdown measures in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, put in place “to save lives and protect people from all dangers.”
The Eid-el-Fitr celebration marks the month-long Ramadan fast, usually celebrated with large congregational prayers. President Buhari however said he will be conducting his Eid prayers with his family at home.
“This is also in line with the directive of the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III suspending Eid congregational prayers across the country as well as the protocol against mass gathering issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
“Further to this, the President who has traditionally shared the joyous moment with top government officials, political leaders, community heads, Muslim and Christian religious leaders and children, will not be receiving these homages in a bid to stop the coronavirus from further spreading.”