Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari as promised, with his immediate family observe the Eid-el-Fitr Prayer at the State House.
This is even as he has challenged Nigerian farmers on the need to embark on massive productive agricultural activities this farming season as Nigeria has no money for food importation.
The celebrations which marks the month-long Ramadan fast, usually follows large congregational prayers.
Buhari had on Friday, said his decision to pray in Aso Rock was in observance of the COVID-19 lockdown measures in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, put in place “to save lives and protect people from all dangers.”
Buhari had also said he was heeding 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 had also said he would not entertain the usual Sallah homage during celebrations.
Buhari conducted the prayers in the open field bordering the presidential villa animal sanctuary with worshippers seen wearing masks and observing physical distancing.
While President Buhari prayed with his son and some aides, his wife, Aisha Buhari prayed with their daughters.
President Buhari who spoke shortly after prayers to State House Correspondents, said: “I hope the raining season would be bountiful, so that we get a lot of food.
“I wish the farmers will go to farms and save the lives so that we can produce what we need in sufficient quantity so that we don’t have to import food.
“In any, we don’t have any money to import food. So we must produce what we are going to eat.’’
On the COVID 19 pandemic, Buhari reiterated his advice to Nigerians to strictly adhere to guidelines and measures put in place against the spread of the deadly virus in the country.
He noted that the pandemic had reduced both developed and developing nations to the same level, and advised Nigerians to always be careful so as to avoid infections.
He said: “Nigerians can see what the COVID-19 has reduced us, both the developing and developed countries, to the same level. In fact, we have least casualties than they we have.
“So, it’s a very frightening development and I advised Nigerians to be very careful and take the advice of the Ministry of Health. Ministers of Health have been doing very well, speaking and educating the citizens on the deadly virus.
“So Nigeria, we should be very careful.’’
The First Lady, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, who also observed the Eid prayer with the president, thanked almighty Allah for sparing the lives of Muslim ummah throughout the Ramadan period.
Aisha, who enjoined the Nigerian women to continue to be on the fore front of the fight the Coronavirus pandemic across the country, prayed that Allah would forgive the sins of those who lost their lives as a result of the virus, and grant them Aljanah Firdausi (Paradise).
“We must thank the almighty Allah for the successful completion of the holy Month of Ramadan, despite the current difficult circumstances we found ourselves.
“I wish to thank the Federal Ministry of Health and also the NCDC for their efforts in combating the pandemic,” she said.